/$& Z%£ Hf&ttcO^ Pt?£& C&Hstt££U%^£
The power of Z E N
o Micro-sized MP3 player ° Mesmerizing blue glow ° Curved to fit in the palm of your hand
o Up to 12-hour battery life on a single charge ° Removable battery to extend playtime another 12 hours
o FM radio ° Voice recorder ° Intuitive vertical touch pad control
o Access over 2 million songs through Zen supported online music services
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BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED TO SUIT YOUR
You will not believe the rich clean sound from a system so small it can go just about
anywhere. An elegant center channel and four matching satellites come complete
with adjustable mounting brackets, making for the perfect plasma or LCD display
solution. The matching subwoofer is stylish enough to show off, or small enough to
hide, providing deep rich bass to shake your soul. Come hear what all the critics have
been raving about, the tiny Micra 6 from athena TECHNOLOGIES.
Add a little soul to your system.
FOR DEALER INQUIRIES
North America I API 3641 McNicoll Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MiX 1G5 • Tel: 416.321.1800
Australia I Audio Products Pty Ltd, Unit 6,61-67 O'Riordi an S, Alexandria, Australia 2015 • Tel+612 966 93477
Europe 1 API Europe BV Poppenbouwing 56, Geldermalsen, Netherlands, 4191 Nz • Tel: +31345588080
Defining Sound I www.al-henaspeakers.com
High Definition | redefined.
Award winning Optoma DLP™ HDTV Series delivers a 1280 x 720, widescreen DVI pure digital image.
Unmatched 1% overscan allows you to watch the full image from either computer or video source. Extra
wide viewing angle and a 16:9 non-reflective screen means richer blacks with no image burn-in, fading,
or degradation, Optoma Plasma Series offers a full 50" screen with an incredible 3000:1 contrast ratio
and a resolution of 1 ,366 x 768 addressable pixels. Optoma Front Projection Series offers the very best
in Home Theater experience.
"The Optoma RD50/RD65 delivered outstanding image and picture quality for both computer and video applications to capture
the 2004 Displaymate Best Video Hardware Guide™ ' FiveFive-Star Award for the best large screen High Definition Television
Display available today. " Dr. Raymond Soneira, President of Display Mate Technologies.
Optoma has an HDTV Solution that's just right for YOU.
DLP Front Projection Series DLP Rear Projection Series
VIDEO HARDWARE GUIDE
In the Mood?
Entertaining? Relaxing? Romancing? Whatever life brings,
Vantage automation is the solution to set the mood!
Your in Automation & Lighting Control
800.555.9891 e www.vantagecontrolsxom
Portable DVD Players
Portable DVD players are great for just about
everyone, from jet-setting professionals to kids on long
road trips. And the industry reflects that attractive-
ness: There are dozens and dozens of models to choose
from. But what kind will fit you and your family's
lifestyle? We'll give you shopping tips, size and weight
guidelines, and examples of the latest technology to
make your portable DVD player a solid and enter-
Portable DVD Players
Family-Friendly DVD Players
Find The Right Fit For Your Household
For Portable DVD Players . . .
Size Does Matter
Copyright 2005 by Sandhills Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of material appearing in CE Lifestyles, Volume 2 Issue 4 is
strictly prohibited without written permission. Printed in the U.S.A. GST #
123482788RT0001. CE Lifestyles (ISSN 1554-2106) is published monthly
by Sandhills Publishing Company, 131 West Grand Drive, P.O. Box 85380,
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. Subscriber Services: (800) 733-3809. POST-
MASTER: Send address changes to CE Lifestyles, P.O. Box 85380,
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. Periodicals postage pending at Lincoln, NE.
Table Of Contents
Volume 2 Issue 4
There's always something new, interesting, and stylish hap-
pening in the world of consumer electronics. That's why the
Open section packs the latest news and trends into the first few
pages of CE Lifestyles, along with the sparkle and bling that you
can buy to accessorize your devices.
A Look At The Latest Consumer Electronics
22 Outfit Your Life
Accessories With Style
Some of our favorite electronic gadgets are the ones that provide the sounds and pictures that
move and entertain us and our friends and family. Whether you want to put together a wireless
audio system for your home or just want help using the plasma TV in your living room, A/V
Club can help.
24 Aesthetics Of Audio
Virtual Surround Sound
3 I The Multimedia Car
Hit The Road In Style
Bass & Treble
Digital cameras and camcorders are changing the way we record the moments of our lives, from
quick snapshots of favorite vacation spots to priceless video clips of first steps and other impor-
tant milestones. Get to know your new digicam or camcorder and learn what to do with your
photos and video once you have them.
(5/ Picture This
Qurio's Software Simplifies
62 Get The Shot .. .
One Problem, Three Solutions
Speakers should be heard, not seen.
That's why we put them in the screen.
Da-Lite Acoustical Imager
Designed for your decor and engineered for your senses. This
revolutionary home theater system combines the clarity of a fixed
Da-Lite screen with the harmony of a JBL 5.1 audio surround sound
system. The Da-Lite Acoustical Imager is simple to set up. The left,
right and center speakers are integrated into the screen's frame.
The compact surround sound speakers bring up the rear while the
subwoofer delivers the bass for a truly remarkable home theater
experience. Choose between a Video or an HDTV screen.
Available in eight projection surfaces. Or have Da-Lite custom build
a screen for your home theater.
Three speakers integrated into the frame,
two surround sound speakers and a
subwoofer complete the system.
HOME THEATER SCREENS
For a free Home Theater Catalog and screen
recommendations, call toll free or visit us online.
www.da-lite.com • ©2005 da-lite screen company, inc.
The consumer electronics in our homes are
no longer limited to TVs and DVD players.
Smart appliances, home automation, and
whole-house audio systems are becoming
more and more common and affordable for
families, and with so much available, why
check CE at the door?
70 Go, Robot!
i Robot's Roomba Discovery Wants
To Catch Your Dirt
/ O Living Smart At Playa Vista
A New California Community Brings
Cutting-Edge Technology Home
Energy Efficiency At Home
Most CE devices are all about fun. Here, we'll
tell you about the latest albums and films to
catch, so you can make sure your entertain-
ment is as up-to-date as your gear. And so as
not to forget our roots, "Retroscope" traces
how a favorite CE device has changed over
Music & Movies
Whether we admit it or not, the perfect look is important to most things in our lives. And not just
the look; I mean The Look. That aura that's emanated when something is the most attractive and
most fashionable it can be, universally appealing and singularly eye-catching. From our homes to our
handbags, we want The Look.
The consumer electronics industry has indeed caught on, creating hip and streamlined home-theater
speakers and designer laptop bags fit for Carrie Bradshaw. Many manufacturers have also started cre-
ating CE devices that are not only good-looking but they are also unobtrusive and visually take a back
seat in our day-to-day lives. For instance, in this issue (on page 24), we cover virtual surround sound, a
technology where two speakers trick your brain into thinking there are six or more, which eliminates
the clutter and mess that one risks with the wires and cables of conventional home-theater systems.
Manufacturers know that modern women want The Look, while simultaneously striving to incorporate
the latest technology into their homes and everyday lifestyles.
The Look is exceptionally important to us here at CE Lifestyles, not only in terms of the products and
technologies we feature, but also in how we feature them. You'll notice a few visual changes this issue,
ones that we think reflect what our readers want to see in all areas of their lives: functional, contempo-
rary, quality-driven products and ideas presented fashionably and
attractively, pleasing both our eyes and our minds. That's what we
want out of a new suede ottoman; it goes without saying that it's
what we want out of our digital cameras.
Live well, friends.
Editor, CE Lifestyles
Editorial Staff* Ronald D. Kobler / Katie
Sommer / Kathryn Dolan /Jennifer Suggitt
/ Samit Gupta Choudhuri / Corey Russman
/ Rod Scher / Christopher Trumble / Calvin
Clinchard / Kimberly Fitzke / Blaine Flamig
/ Raejean Brooks / Rebecca Christensen /
Tara Weber / Sally Curran / Michael Sweet
/ Nate Hoppe / Trista Kunce / Sheila Allen /
Linne Ourada / Liz Dixon / Ryan Syrek / Joy
Martin / Brian Weed / Sarie Whitson /
Marty Sems / Chad Denton / Nathan
Chandler / Kylee Dickey / Josh Gulick /
Andrew Leibman / Vince Cogley / Sam
Customer Service: Alisha Lamb / Brandie
Humphrey / Becky Rezabek / Lana Matic
/ Lindsay Albers
Subscription Renewals: Liz Kohout /
Connie Beatty / Matt Boiling / Patrick
Kean / Charmaine Vondra / Miden Ebert
/ Kathy DeCoito / Stephanie Contreras /
Nicole Buckendahl / Travis Brock
Art & Design: Lesa Call / Fred Schneider /
Carrie Benes / Ginger Riley / Sonja
Warner / Leigh Trompke / Aaron Weston
/ Aaron Clark / Kelli Lambertsen / Lori
Garris / Jason Codr / Andria Schultz /
Erin Rodriguez / Lindsay Anker
Web Staff* Missy Fletcher / Dorene
Krausnick / Nick Ray / Laura Curry
Newsstand: Garth Lienemann / Kelly
Richardson / Chris McGreer / Jeff
Advertising Sales: Grant Ossenkop /
Cindy Pieper / Brooke Wolzen / Eric
Cobb / Emily Getzschman
Marketing: Mark Peery / Marcy Gunn /
Amber Coffin /Jen Clausen / Ashley
Hannant / Scot Banks / Luke Vavricek
(For questions about your subscription or
to place an order or change an address.)
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Lincoln, NE 68521
The beauty and warmth of real maple or cherry come to life in the distinctive style of new Woodbrook furniture from Sanus.
The fine lines provide a beautifully functional setting for your audio and video components, with convection cooling engineered
into the cabinet design. Choose from a variety of door and drawer options. See Woodbrook furniture and more
at www.sanus.com. Come and browse through the woods.
THE UNION OF FORM AND FUNCTION
Compiled by Tracy Baker
More Efficient iPods
If you have yet to jump on the iPod bandwagon, you may want to wait until the
model you most desire incorporates Portal Player's PP5022 System-On-Chip
(www.portalplayer.com). Portal Player's products are the brains that let iPods play
music and work all of their other tricks (including displaying information on the de-
vice's screen), and the company claims its latest hardware is so efficient that previous
iPod models that incorporate the new technology may have up to three times the
battery life of past models. PortalPlayer accomplished this by reducing the amount of
electricity the PP5022 needs to function, including dramatic reductions in the power
requirements for battery-eating system memory. The iPod's processor must work hard
to decode digital audio for playback, which draws a lot of power from the battery, but
the PP5022 makes the decoding process more efficient, letting the processor do its
work at lower overall speeds to conserve even more battery life.
If you're curious about real-world performance compared to the company's claims,
look no further than the latest version of the iPod mini, with its maximum claimed
battery life of 18 hours. That's more than twice the battery life of the original model,
thanks mainly to the PP5022.
PEBL Adds A Little Estrogen To The Cell Phone Market
Motorola's PEBL V6 sports curves that
would make a supermodel jealous, but
Motorola is being tight-lipped about the
specifications of its latest must-have cell
phone. We know it's designed so you can
easily open it with just one hand and it sup-
ports Motorola's EDGE technology for ac-
cessing data at relatively high speeds. That
will be nice because the phone has an inte-
grated camera that takes still images or cap-
tures full-motion video, which are stored in
the 5MB of integrated memory. The PEBL
supports Bluetooth to wirelessly connect
the phone to headsets or other products
that use that popular wireless networking
standard, and you can configure your phone
to automatically grab weather reports,
headlines, and other vital information so
you can access it at a glance.
12 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
ce news Op© II
Adidas Announces High-Tech Running Shoe For The Weil-Heeled
CE has finally hit the road — literally — with the announcement of the Adidas 1
($250; www.adidas.com). That's a lot of cash for a pair of running shoes, but you're
also paying for computers, sensors, and other technology hidden in each shoe that
take readings 1,000 times per second and dynamically adjust the stiffness of the heel
based on what you're doing. When you're walking, for instance, the system powers
off to conserve battery life, but when you're running, the computers spring to life,
adjusting the tension in a cable to make the heel more or less stiff, depending on
how much shock the sensors measure each time your shoe hits
the pavement. Adidas claims the battery that powers this
system operates for 100 hours before it needs replacing, and
unfortunately, it isn't rechargeable.
YourseMFitness Hits The PS2
Forget all of those kids fighting fat by gyrating to the tunes of Dance Dance Revolution. The
rest of us can now use our consoles to get fit with responDESIGN's YourselflFitness ($34.99;
www.yourselffitness.com). Released last October for the Xbox and PC, this personal-trainer-
in-a-box is now available to the millions of PlayStation 2 owners out there. Load it up and
Maya, the virtual trainer, walks you through a health assessment and tailors exercises to
your fitness level and overall health goals. You don't need any extra equipment if you want
to do the aerobics routines, but you can use instructions for hand weights, step, and other
exercises if you have them and want to take it to the next level. When you get sick of
sweating it out, there's even a complete yoga routine to help you wind down.
Sounds Great, But Where Are The Speakers?
No home theater is complete without a surround-sound system, but who wants those unsightly speakers and wires messing up the
look of your otherwise perfect living room? Onkyo's tasteful CB-SP1200 ($600; www.onkyousa.com) integrates 40-watt front left,
center, and right speakers into a sleek and functional TV stand. The left and right speakers each have separate woofers (low- and
mid-range audio speakers) and tweeters (high-range audio speakers) for more accurate sound output across a variety of frequencies.
Most surround-sound tracks concentrate most of the sound— in-
cluding all-important dialogue— into the front-center speaker, and
the one incorporated into this stand has a tweeter surrounded by
two woofers to handle all of that sound.
The speakers are covered by a black grille designed to blend into the
surrounding wood, which is hand-rubbed with seven coats of black
lacquer. The stand supports up to 250 pounds and is 17 inches high
x 47 inches wide x 17-3/4 inches deep to accommodate a variety of
TVs. The speaker jacks are on the back of the stand so you can con-
nect the speakers without crawling around on the floor behind an
entertainment center. All of the speakers are magnetically
shielded, so they won't interfere with TVs. You may remember
when speakers interfered with CRTs (cathode-ray tubes) and
the picture became distorted from the magnetic field.
CE Lifestyles / May 2005 13
t p I a
Market research firm Gartner claims that total mobile phone sales climbed 30% in
2004 compared to 2005, with more than 674 million cell phones flying off the
shelves worldwide. Nokia is still the No. 1 manufacturer by a long shot, com-
manding more market share than No. 2 Motorola and No. 3 Samsung combined.
Gartner predicts that more than 730 million cell phones will be sold in 2005.
Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales
To End-Users In 2004
Note* This table includes iDEN, but excludes ODM to OEM shipments.
Home Video Is Big Business
VHS and DVD prices may seem to be falling, but the studios are still raking in more
in sales and rentals of VHS and DVD movies than they're making at the box office,
according to the Video Software Dealers Association. Here are highlights of its
2004 annual report:
i< 4-» < OO
o3 ^1 CD
Combined,*,, , D ,
sales and rentals If 22.2 Between
DVDmo 5 |™4! 1 ?!. 400,000
a 40% increase compared to 2002.
Of that we spent $14 billion buying movies
TOTAL, and $8.2 renting them.
of all rentals.
for DVD players, according to sales
figures, are Cyberhome, Sony,
Apex, Memorex, and Koss,
in that order.
Source: The MPD Group/NPD Techworld
March 2, 2005, that customers
had downloaded more than 300
million tracks from its iTunes
digital music store.
announced its 82-inch LCD
HDTV— the largest so far.
On April 2, 2005, XM Radio raised
its monthly subscription rate from
$9.99 to $12.95.
Source: XM Radio
MiCrOSOft has recalled
more than 14 million potentially
faulty Xbox power cords. Visit
for more information.
73.40/0 of >DA users
have a Palm-brand device,
followed by HP with 21.3% of
the market share.
Source: The MPD Group/NPD Techworld
When given a choice between a
normal music CD and a "copy-
once" CD priced $5 less, 33% of
those who do not rip CDs and 27%
who rip CDs preferred the copy-
Source: Parks Associates
14 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Denon's philosophy is simple.
<& <& f& &
l^+X THX SURROUND EX P mil bJSU
Introducing Denon's New AVR-5805
The World's First 10-channel A/V Receiver With Fully Configurable 4-zone Capabilities
A Breakthrough In Multi-source, Multi-zone Flexibility
For the home entertainment enthusiast and custom installer alike, Denon's new AVR-5805 delivers unprecedented four-zone home
entertainment integration and control — all from a single component. With 10 configurable and discrete amplifiers, 16-channels of
audio output, and the world's first-ever ability to drive two fully independent 5.1 systems, the AVR-5805 will also route audio and video
signals from up to four independent sources and distribute them to up to four separate zones throughout the home. Its advanced
capabilities even allow discrete power, source selection and volume control of each zone. And flexibility is just the beginning. Read on.
Masterful Technologies And A "Sweet Spot" For Every Listener
Behind the AVR-5805's newly designed, easy-to-read front panel display is a profusion of powerful technologies. An Equal Power
amplifier section delivers a massive 170 watts of high-current power into each of its ten channels, processing for every popular
7.1-, 6.1- and 5.1-channel surround sound format — from Dolby (including Pro Logic llx) and dts, to THX Ultra2 and THX Surround EX.
The AVR-5805 also introduces the latest in Auto Setup Calibration and Equalization with the Audyssey MultEQ XT system, tailoring
sound not only to the listening environment but also to the audience. This advanced technology analyzes and calibrates six critical
settings including variable crossover point detection. It also determines the correct frequency response for up to six separate
listener positions and then averages all six. The result? Literally a "sweet spot" for every listener in the room.
• 505 APPLECREE
VARD, MARKHAM, ONI
• 9054754085 •
This is innovation
Advanced Video Conversion And Denon's Exclusive Circuitry
The AVR-5805 offers a full complement of advanced processing capabilities like HDMI/DVI digital video selection, video up-scaling
(including Faroudja DCDi technology for analog sources) and the world's first dual, independent video conversion for unmatched simplicity
and the highest picture quality from all your video gear. For even greater A/V performance, it employs the most advanced Texas Instruments'
and Analog Devices' 32-bit DSP processors, Burr-Brown 24-bit/l 92kHz audio DACs, as well as Denon's newly improved DDSC-D
(Dynamic Discrete Surround Decoder-Digital). And to top it off, exclusive Advanced AL24 Processing Plus circuitry maximizes all source
signals so that the high-resolution DA converters work at peak capacity.
More Connection Options Than Any Receiver In The Industry
In addition to an extensive complement of digital and analog A/V connections, the AVR-5805 includes a full array of "custom installation"
features: assignable high amperage DC trigger outputs, dual RS-232C ports to facilitate integrated system and PC connectivity, and a
built-in Ethernet port that adds more system control as well as future updates and upgrades. In-demand connection options include
6 high-bandwidth (100 MHz,) HDTV-compatible component video inputs, HD switching for 2 zones and much more. Finally, the latest
version of Denon Link 3 and dual IEEE-1394 inputs allow for reception of high-resolution, multi-channel digital audio data directly from
compatibly equipped DVD players. It all adds up to total flexibility and the ultimate level of sonic performance. Denon does it again.
The First Name in Digital Audio
18 May 2005 / celifesty
As the weather
warms up, our
thoughts turn to
ties. And most
of them involve
are some hot
that you'll be
happy to take
play or work on
Review Pocket Prep
Handheld For The New SAT
Franklin (the planner people) and Princeton Review have put together a handheld
prep product specifically for the child in your life who's cramming for the SAT. The
device features tutorials, practice exams, drill cards, and personal diagnostic reports.
Tutorials and other verbal tools are specifically designed to help students prepare for
the new essay, as well. Bring on the college recruiters.
Garmin C330 GPS Guide
You don't need a built-in auto navigation system to get around. Garmin's ultra-
portable and cute-as-a-button C330 will do nicely. Weighing just half a pound, the
unit mounts easily in your car. It's preloaded with U.S. maps and attractions, so you
can get from point A to point B with time to spare.
) ooo v
Add satellite radio to your car or home— with just one device. Sanyo's
diminutive receiver pulls in satellite radio and broadcasts with an FM
transmitter (just tune in from any radio nearby). The package in-
eludes car and home docks, two antennas, and two power adapters.
One feature we're particularly fond of is the Favorites tool; it notifies
you when a particular artist or song is on any SIRIUS channel.
Philips (& Nike) MP3RUN
Designed for runners, the new 256MB MP3RUN combines music
playback with audio feedback on distance, speed, and time. Wireless
sensors track your performance while you listen to MP3s, WMA
(Windows Media Audio) files, or FM radio.
Olympus C-5500 Sports
Zoom Digital Camera
Don't miss another great soccer shot. Olympus' C-
5500 has a 5X optical zoom for close-ups of your
daughter's throw in, a less-than-one-second
startup so you're not messing around when the
game starts, and a 2.7fps (frames per second)
burst mode to catch every part of every goal.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 19
With Control4, you can finally stop using "home automation" and *when
I win the lottery" in the same sentence. That's because we offer a more
practical approach for automating and simplifying all the different technology
in your home— from lighting, temperature, and security systems to
sophisticated home theater centers. Every ControK solution is easy to install
in new or existing homes, a pleasure to use, and surprisingly affordable.
So visit our Web site to find an authorized Control4 dealer near you.
And discover exactly how easy and inexpensive home automation can be.
www.control4.com • 1-888-400-4070
Sharp 56DR650 56" DLP HDTV
When it's time to slow down and kick back, you won't
find an LCD or plasma TV this big with a price this small.
And you won't find a regular TV this light and this thin.
Sharp's DLP nicely splits the difference in price and size
between tube and flat-screen technology with sharp, rich,
Drown out engine whine and screaming children with Sennheiser's new
noise-canceling headphones. Special technology cancels ambient noise,
while delivering crisp, clear audio from your source. The pair folds into a
small carrying case for easy packing. Plug adapters fit jacks for portable
devices, airplanes, and in-home stereo components.
BenQ P50 PDA Phone
BenQ's new P50 runs Pocket PC, compatible with Office applica-
tions, email, and Web browsing. It connects via GSM (Global
System for Mobile Communications) mobile networks, Bluetooth,
or Wi-Fi. It also has a 1.3MP (megapixel) camera, MP3 player, and
full keyboard. How heavy does your notebook computer feel now?
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 21
Accessories With Style
April showers bring May accessories.
COMPILED BY SEAN DOOLITTLE
Anna Sui Mobile by Samsung
$299 (with T-Mobile Service Plan)
You may be tired of showing up at meetings
wearing the same cell phone as everyone else.
If so, grab a little cellular couture with this
limited-edition Samsung e31 5 clamshell phone
designed by international fashion superstar
Anna Sui. It features Sui's trademark purple
color palate, a charm, and exclusive
screensavers and comes with every-
thing from a custom carrying case
to Anna Sui signature "Rouge
S" lip gloss.
Mobile Edge Red Full-Grain
$279.99 • www.mobileedge.com
Make a sophisticated style statement with red
leather. This full-grain leather briefcase from
Mobile Edge features a poly-suede lined
interior, SafetyCell computer protection
compartment, EZ-Access pockets for your cell
phone and plane tickets, and a removable
pouch for cosmetics and accessories.
Sling Media Slingbox Personal Broadcaster
$249 • www.slingmedia.com
Now here's a laptop accessory. The Slingbox Personal Broadcaster beams live TV or
recorded video from your home cable box, satellite receiver, TiVo, or similar device to
your notebook in any room in the house ... or to any Wi-Fi hotspot out in the world.
Stuck in the airport? Thinking about grabbing an afternoon coffee at the Starbucks
across the street from your hotel? No need to miss "Ellen."
$99.99 • www.jascoproducts.com
This little number won the 2005 International
CES "Technology Is A Girl's Best Friend"
Diamond Product Showcase award in the
digital imaging category. Can you blame it?
Resembling a stylish flip-phone in design, this
1.3MP (megapixel) camera features 8MB of
onboard memory, an integrated rechargable
Li-Ion (lithium-ion) battery, a color LCD, and
a compact mirror. Powder not included.
22 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Building a Home?
We can make it do more.
It's about a better life.
Enjoy audio, video and control — in every room!
See the Nursery, Yard and Door From TVs and VIA! Panels.
Enjoy Entertainment and Communications in Every Room.
Select a System Designed to Suit Your Life and Home.
Choose Individual Interfaces to Match Your Decor.
Adjust Temperature and Lights From Anywhere.
Stream Digital Music Into Any Room.
Choose your counter tops. Pick top grade cabinets and fix-
tures. Select music, movies, and news — with one touch on a
touch panel from anywhere in the house? Yes! Investing in
your home just took on a whole new dimension.
We offer a seamless approach to simplifying your electronics.
Just as an architect designs your living spaces, an ELAN Dealer
can design a personalized system, allowing you to make the
most of your home.
Whether you're building new or remodeling, now's the best And, with multi-room audio and video, the wires are neatly
time to include all the things that will save time, and make life tucked away behind the walls, just as your phone and electrical
more enjoyable. wires are.
From one touch access to your entertainment, to controlling It's not about the electronics - it's about a better life. It's one
lights, security and drapes - ELAN has a simple way to control of the biggest decisions you'll make. Consider incorporating
it all. Touch a control panel in your den to see who's at the an easy-to-use, whole-house system from ELAN. Call us today
front door - or start the movie and enjoy incredible audio and let your home do so much more,
piped through in-wall speakers.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ANY OF ELAN'S EXCITING PRODUCTS CALL 1-877-289-3526 OR VISIT US AT ELANHOMESYSTEMS.COM.
24 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Aesthetics Of Audio
Virtual Surround Sound
nless you're a teenager, the days of regularly going
to the movies are fading. People just don't seem to
have the time or the energy to get out of the house
as much as they used to. Most would rather sink
into their favorite chair, line up their beverages and
snacks of choice, and relax in privacy in front of
their home entertainment centers. This shift has
gone hand in hand with the advent of regular
movie broadcasting on TV, special movies-only
channels available through satellite or cable, and
readily available selection of DVDs for rent.
If you have recently bought a new TV, chances are you upgraded to
one with a bigger screen. Combine that with the relatively short
viewing distance of the average living room, and you're getting close
to the cinema experience — at least visually. But what about sound?
Because vision is a primary sense for most of us, it may come as a bit
of a surprise that the audible portion of the movie experience is as
important, if not more important, than the size or quality of your TV's
display. A small television with a great sound system can actually pro-
duce a more involving experience than a large display with so-so
sound. If you find that your home viewing just doesn't have the same
emotional "oomph" as the cinema experience, the difference in sound
quality may be the reason.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 25
Everyone seems to have an
opinion about which audio
component matters the most. The
reality is that in a sound system,
everything matters. The various
elements of a system are like links
in a chain; one weak link will
weaken the whole chain. Speakers
are a very important link in the
chain because each type and
model can impose a distinct sonic
signature. For effective sound
from multichannel surround
sound, it is particularly important
that all the speakers have a similar
sonic character. This usually
means they must be either iden-
tical or designed as part of a sur-
round ensemble. In most VSS
systems, the speakers come with
the system and are designed to
work well together.
Which do you prefer for your room? A multispeaker system with wires
connecting to each speaker around your room . . .
Fooling The Brain
What if you could have the enveloping
sonic effect of a sophisticated multi-
speaker system without all the wires and
speakers? Some clever designers have
found a way to do just that. As it turns
out, the sounds we hear contain tiny
echoes, timing delays, and frequency
shifts caused by your head and body
and the fold of your ear blocking sounds.
The small difference in time between
the arrival of a sound in one ear and its
arrival at the other is also important. The
brain uses these cues to determine
where sounds are coming from in a
process called localization.
The localization process, which occurs
in the brain, is completely unconscious
and so fast that your brain "knows"
where a sound is coming from almost
instantly. Through research, engineers
have found a way to make sounds ema-
nating from a speaker in front of you
seem to come from beside or behind
you. The result is VSS (virtual surround
sound) technology, the illusion of sur-
round sound without all the speakers.
Typical Surround Sound
Before we get into how VSS creates
what seems like a surround-sound en-
vironment, we must understand the
sound system on which it is based.
Cinemas typically have powerful sound
systems with dozens of high-quality
speakers in front of, beside, and behind
the audience to create a surround effect.
Many home viewers have gone to great
lengths to capture the emotional con-
tent of the movie experience by equip-
ping their viewing rooms with similarly
elaborate multichannel surround-sound
systems. In most cases, the sound sys-
tem not only costs more, but it is much
more complicated to set up than the
television alone. Today's standard for
home multichannel sound is a 5.1-
channel surround-sound system — that
is, five speakers (one center, two mains,
two rear) and one subwoofer, each
playing a separate audio track encoded
within the DVD format. These audio
tracks are specially mixed to contain di-
rectional cues for sounds that move.
A plane flying from right to left on your
screen, for example, is accompanied by a
corresponding sound that moves in the
same direction through your room. A
properly set up surround system of suf-
ficient quality can make sounds appear
to float or move in any direction within
the 3D space of your room. Imagine the
26 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
... or a system (such as the Soundmatters MAINstage, shown here) that takes up less
space and still gives you a surround-sound effect when you watch your favorite movie?
With a bit of effort, multispeaker
systems can be tastefully inte-
grated into your living room. Audio
equipment goes through fashion
trends, which frequently make it
possible to accurately date a piece of
gear from a given decade. (The cur-
rent fashion is black or silver with fu-
turistic touches.) You can minimize
the visual effect of multiple speakers
by purchasing light-colored models
or by painting them the same color
as your walls (but don't get paint on
the speaker cones). In-wall speakers
with grilles you can paint are nearly
ideal aesthetically, but they require
more effort to install. You can run
wires through the basement or attic
or via special paintable wire guides
that run along the baseboards.
excitement when a bullet is fired at
your favorite action hero and you hear a
whistling sound as if the projectile is
whizzing past your ear.
The other, more subtle trademark of sur-
round sound is a sense that you are in the
scene. When the characters on-screen are
sitting in a sidewalk cafe, you feel sur-
rounded by the same street noises they
are experiencing. These environmental
sounds create a sonic ambience that pro-
vides a sense of personal involvement and
suspends disbelief, both of which are crit-
ical to a satisfying cinema experience.
Explore Your Options
Unfortunately, a multichannel sound
system at home means six wires running
to five speakers and the subwoofer.
If you have spent years on the finishing
touches of a tastefully designed living
room, the last thing you want is wires
and speakers hanging around the room.
If you want convincing movie sound and
a sleek, organized look to your room,
you have several options to make this
dream a reality.
One-speaker systems. Some virtual sur-
round systems produce credible sur-
round sound from one speaker. The
Niro 1.1 Pro II ($990; www.niro1.com)
processes 5.1 channels using a built-in
processor. The amplifier is about the
same size as a smallish DVD player, and
the single speaker sits unobtrusively
above or below your TV. (Separate ac-
cessories include a stand for the speaker
or brackets to attach the speaker to the
wall.) You can tuck the subwoofer into a
corner, and all the wires can run behind
Listeners to the new Niro VSS systems say
the effect is impressive, not to mention
easy on the decor. The 1.1 Pro II is suitable
for larger rooms (500 to 600 square feet),
but Niro offers the Niro 600 ($749) for
300 to 400 square foot rooms and the
Niro 400 ($539) for rooms up to 200
square feet. The Niro 400 works well with
a PC or portable DVD player and fills a
small room such as a typical office space.
One more speaker. Those who don't
mind one extra speaker (and a little more
wire) can opt for two speakers instead of
one. This VSS is a bit more effective, but
speakers are still not visually intrusive.
Niro offers a two-speaker system that
processes state-of-the-art 6.1 VSS by ex-
panding the surround effect to include
sounds that would come from directly
behind the listener. The Niro Two6.1
($1,999) comes with a subwoofer and
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 27
two speakers, with one positioned above
or below the TV display and one directly
behind the listener. For smaller rooms,
you can try the Niro Two6.1-C ($1,499).
Personal surround sound. Ever find
yourself hankering for a late-night mov-
ie, but you don't want to wake the en-
tire household? Niro has come up with
the MovieMouse ($229), a miniature
VSS speaker pod that connects to your
Niro system and sits in front of you to
deliver surround sound at a low volume.
You can leave the MovieMouse conve-
niently plugged in and switch the sound
to it via the remote control.
Sound reflection. Samsung has a version
of VSS that confines itself to the area
near your TV. The Samsung HT-DS660
($599.99) uses a subwoofer, one center
channel, and two front speakers and in-
cludes a DVD player. The rear speakers
are virtual, produced by sound reflecting
off the room's walls and
ceiling to create 5.1 -channel
sound. The speakers sit at
the front of the room, so you
can discretely tuck the wires
away. This system's effect is
more dependent on the re-
flective properties of the
room surfaces than are the
Niro systems. For rear-reflec-
tion to work, you need a
hard and smooth back wall
that isn't too far from the
seating position and is par-
allel to the front wall. A geo-
metrically irregular room or
room that has a large, open design won't
work well with this technology.
Ultra-compact surround sound. If you
are looking for a more compact and
lower-budget product that still produces
VSS, Soundmatters MAINstage ($329)
offers amplifiers, speakers, and a built-in
can play thro
come with 5.1 -channel soundtracks that you
ugh a VSS or multispeaker system.
Do I Need Surround Sound If My TV
Already Has It?
The short answer is yes. Most modern televisions have built-in stereo speakers,
and a few models advertise built-in sub woofers or VSS capabilities. Though
the sound production capabilities available on TVs have certainly improved
over the years, the designers of these sets are still primarily concerned with the
visual display and not the sound. As a result, the built-in sound on televisions
usually falls short of what even a modest or medium-cost external sound system
Home Cinema In A Box
The temptation to quickly and cheaply achieve great sound by purchasing a
complete multichannel sound system in a box can be pretty strong. Keep in
mind, however, that these systems vary considerably in quality. You can find
plastic speakers with flimsy wires and poor fidelity amplification in some sys-
tems. Bad sound is still bad sound, no matter how many speakers it comes
from. If you are considering a home cinema in a box, test the sound quality in
the store, if possible, and research your options thoroughly before you buy.
subwoofer in a single unit with 80 watts
of power. The unit sits on top of your TV,
producing a surround illusion without
Stereo connections. What if you already
have a stereo with good-quality speakers
arranged to either side of your TV? You
may have found that you can run two
channels of audio from your video source
through your 2-channel stereo for better
sound than the small speakers in your TV
can provide. Unfortunately, this arrange-
ment only gives you two of the 5.1 chan-
nels available on DVD.
SOUNDaround from Xitel ($99.95;
www.xitel.com) lets you hear home the-
ater sound through your two stereo
speakers. You plug the multichannel dig-
ital output from your DVD player or
other source into SOUNDaround's single
processor box. The unit takes the 5.1-
channel information encoded in the
audio signal and adds direction cues for
the sound. That output is fed into your
stereo through the regular left and right
input jacks. Presto! You get room-filling
surround sound with no extra speakers.
Is Multichannel Surround
If virtual surround sound is so great, you
may be asking if this means the end of
28 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
multichannel sound systems. Not likely —
or at least, not yet. While the surround
effect of VSS can be impressive consid-
ering the small number of speakers, a
high-quality multichannel system with
six or more speakers arranged correctly
is still hard to beat. The illusion that a
sound is coming from behind you won't
be as convincing to your ears as a sound
that really is coming from behind you.
The main bottlenecks for VSS are the fi-
delity of the processing and the problem
of getting the same volume and dynamic
range out of one or two speakers as you
might get from five or six. Also, if all your
speakers are at the front of the room,
then sounds that are supposed to come
from the back of the room will be less
convincing. Because of the processing in-
volved, some VSS systems may also have
short but noticeable delays. In addition,
many consumers expect that a system
with fewer speakers shouldn't cost much.
The reality is that the cost to manufac-
ture a good VSS system is as much or
more than the cost to manufacture a
This VSS speaker, as well as other Niro 400
components, comes in orange, silver, gray, or
indigo blue to fit the style of your room.
multispeaker system, particularly when
you consider the development costs.
The Last Word
The development of these VSS systems is
a clear step forward for home theater. A
surround purist, who enjoys running wires
under baseboards and tweaking each
channel for hours, may still prefer the real
thing. However, those who rank form
higher than function can use VSS to pre-
serve their decor, save time and effort
during setup, and get amazing results. H]
by Ross Mantle
The sound effect that enhances the
cinema experience can also en-
hance your favorite musical perfor-
mances. But be warned: Enjoyable
musical listening demands more
from your sound system than the
bangs and moving sound tricks that
even inexpensive surround systems
can muster. An obtrusive rumbling
subwoofer that works fine in a
movie, for example, can really wreck
a nice jazz performance. If you plan
on making your surround-sound
system your main source for music
as well as movies, then the most im-
portant criteria should be musical
fidelity. This feature includes im-
portant elements that you should
research as you shop, including re-
fined high frequencies, tight bass,
and good rendering of detail.
Multispeaker vs. Virtual Surround Sound
Virtual Surround Sound
Available at all price points, including some Confined to low and midprice levels when
systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars. compared to the wide price range of multi-
speaker systems. Prices generally range from
around $100 to around $2,000.
Good to excellent, depending on system quality,
room properties, and setup. 5.1 is standard; 7.1
is also available.
Effect can be impressive but diminishes at
the point farthest from the speaker(s). Best
systems render 5.1; lower-cost versions may
only handle 3.1.
Generally poor. Multiple speakers can be
integrated into the decor, but effort is required.
Much easier to add to a room without
Setup & Calibration
Quite complicated and time-consuming.
Enthusiasts are constantly fiddling with the settings.
Much simpler to set up physically with
fewer calibration settings.
Typically have inputs for multiple sources:
DVD, CD, cable, TV, radio, etc.
Also capable of multisourcing but may
have fewer inputs.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 29
All Over The House,
No smoke, no mirrors - just 100% digital technology only from ZON. 'Tor sheer
wow factor, ZON is the winner" according to Sound & Vision (January 2005). "... the
sound quality was excellent, and being able to handle digital signals from your
sources puts ZON in a class by itself" Also unique
to ZON are the easy to use Euro-styled ( —
in-wall amplified controllers (providing
60 Watts into 8 Ohms) and the ability to
use the latest optical and coax digital
audio components, and even old school
analog audio (converted to digital by
ZON), ZON elevates multi-room audio to
new levels of perfection - it's like having
live performers all around your house.
Worldwide Distribution by
PC , >Jf^
Hit The Road In Style
pple Computer's portable
MP3 player, the iPod,
is great because it lets
you take thousands of
songs with you wher-
ever you go without
lugging around a
suitcase of CDs.
found that it's often difficult to enjoy the
iPod in one of the places we listen to
music most — the car. Most car stereos
don't offer a good way to connect an
iPod or any other MP3 player for that
matter. The result is, you're left with ei-
ther the inferior sound quality and messy
wires of cassette-tape style adapters or
isolated from your library of digital music.
However, a few companies have started
providing equipment to help your vehicle
interface with the iPod. We'll run through
what devices we've seen and highlight
some other multimedia features that can
make travel more enjoyable.
Factory Installed Options
Car manufacturers are eager to associate
themselves with the iPod brand, and a
handful have rolled out iPod compati-
bility as an optional feature in some 2005
models. Mercedes-Benz provides the
most integration, displaying song titles
and artists names on the radio's console
display. Volvo, Nissan, Alfa-Romeo, and
Ferrari all provide an audio link and let
you skip through songs, but you don't
have complete control of all the player's
functions. BMW sells an iPod upgrade kit
for installation at dealerships on some
models 2002 and newer. After plugging
your iPod into the cable installed in the
glove box, you'll be able to hear songs on
the stereo, control the volume as you
would a CD, and even select songs to play
using BMW's on-steering-wheel controls.
Replace Your Stereo
If you don't have your eye on a new car,
you can still make your current wheels
MP3-compatible by adding a new stereo.
A few of the newer stereos support other
impressive features, such as DVD play-
back, surround sound, and touchscreens
for GPS (global positioning system) satel-
lite navigation mapping. Replacing a car
stereo can be a complicated task, so un-
less you're adventurous, you should con-
sider having a professional do the
installation. Most electronics stores that
sell car stereos will be able to direct you
to a good installer or do the work them-
selves. Talking to an installer may also give
you ideas about product features you'd
like that you didn't even know existed.
The Clarion VRX755VD ($1,599.99;
www.clarion.com) is a good example of
an iPod-compatible car stereo with so
many features you might forget about
your iPod altogether. Although it looks
like a car stereo and fits into the usual
dashboard slot, at the touch of the
button, a motorized panel extends from
the front of the unit and pops up, re-
vealing a 7-inch color LCD touchscreen.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 31
Our Favorite Multimedia Cars
Most new cars today come with the option to upgrade
the audio and video in the cabin. But there are a few
dream machines that give new meaning to portable enter-
tainment. Here are our favorites.
2005 Volvo S80 T6 Premiere
(Starts at $49,150)
This model's RSE (Rear Seat Entertainment) system in-
cludes a CD/DVD player, viewing screens on the back of
both headrests, and 68-channel color TV with game ports.
2005 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV
(Starts at $38,670)
All 2005 M-Class SUVs (and many other 2005 models,
as well) can be upgraded with the iPod Integration Kit,
where you can use your steering-wheel controls to skip
through your iPod playlist and view the tracks and artists
in the in-dash display.
2005 BMW 545i Sedan —
(Starts at $55,800)
The coolest feature on this model is the Heads-Up
Display, a virtual monitor that shows on your windshield
and allows you to keep your eyes up and forward. Other
features include Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free
You can use the screen to control your
iPod, which is attached to the con-
necting cable and stowed away in the
glove compartment, or to view DVDs.
Clarion's unit can also send its video to a
second screen, perhaps one mounted for
backseat viewers, and can control op-
tional CD and DVD changers, a Sirius
satellite ratio receiver, and even a TV
tuner via the proprietary CeNET bus
system. Perhaps the unit's most ingenious
feature is two-zone operation, which lets
a parent listen to one song in the front
seat while kids in the back listen to an-
other. The remote control allows even
rear seat passengers unprecedented mis-
chief-making potential, so you may want
to keep it in the front.
Unless you're eager to watch DVDs in the
car, spending hundreds of dollars for a
touchscreen seems steep. If you're happy
with your car stereo, it's possible to
simply get an upgrade. Pioneer released
its CD-IB100 iPod adaptor, which uses the
company's proprietary IP-Bus system
($140; www.pioneerelectronics.com) to
communicate with its stereos. If your
stereo is one of the 3 million or so Pioneer
units sold in the last few years, chances
are it uses IP-Bus and will be compatible
with the iPod adapter. If your Pioneer
stereo isn't one of the newer models, you
may not be able to use all the iPod's fea-
tures. You'll still be able to charge the bat-
tery, hear high-quality audio, and skip
through tracks, but only new 2005
models take advantage of the most so-
phisticated features, such as the ability to
search through your music library.
Pioneer's AVH-P5700DVD ($1,200) is one
of its new in-dash DVD players that's
compatible with the iPod adapter. Like
the Clarion unit, it has a motorized
touch-sensitive screen and DVD movie
playback, but by connecting optional
components it can also serve as a GPS
navigation device. The GPS component
displays your current position on a street
map and guides you to a destination
with turn-by-turn directions, making
getting lost virtually impossible.
If you're going for something that's useful,
cost-efficient, and easy to install, check
out the iTrip ($35; www.griffintechnology
.com), which is an FM transmitter that
you can plug right into your iPod's head-
phone jacks. You get your choice of fre-
quencies, which is nice when you're on
the road and between channels. Though
it doesn't have any fancy interface like
Pioneer's system, the iTrip is notably
portable; you can take it inside and use it
with a radio in your home, as well.
It's almost certain that the next few
years will bring easier and better car
stereo connectivity for the iPod and de-
vices like it, and DVD players have their
place, too. Because drivers can't enjoy
movies while they're driving, the tech-
nology is most useful for passengers, es-
pecially kids, on long trips. We're
keeping our eyes on the road ahead. 3=3
by Joseph Bell
32 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Simply Astonishing. Astonishingly Simple. Avidea:
Avidea is the
And, since sound always drives
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and video home theater by The Boston Sounds Movie
experience without the complexity. soundtracks have incredible
So state-of-the-art, yet so
extraordinarily easy to connect
and operate, Avidea is all the
fun with none of the frustration
power and detail. CDs, AM/FM,
even MP3s sound truer to
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the original performance.
The Avidea 770 System simply
allows you to get the most out
of home theater no matter what
kind of TV you own. Visit
bostonacoustics.com/idea to learn
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Boston Acoustics com, and the Boston logo are registered trademarks of Boston Acoustics. Inc
Buff Up Those Buds
Portable music players often come with tiny ear
buds that lack bass. To compensate, boost the
bass control a little to get a fuller sound. At the
same time, certain songs (especially newer rock,
techno, and electronic music) have a full and
powerful low-end mixed into the music. This
means that the bass guitar, kick drum, or deep
synthesizer sounds are already turned up in
order to give the track a lot of bass. Playing this
music over your personal stereo with the bass
control boosted may make the sound harsh
and distorted. If you increase the bass, adjust
carefully so as not to overload the ear buds.
It All Hangs In The
Sometimes, it makes more sense to adjust both
the bass and the treble simultaneously. Let's say
you're listening to a song, and it sounds a little
muffled. Your first impulse might be to increase
the treble. However, it's possible that the reason
the system sounds muffled is because the bass is
overly full. This can make it sound as though
the treble needs a boost, when, in fact, a mild
cut to the bass response can bring the rest of
the sound into focus.
Less Is More
Any changes you do make should, in nearly all
cases, be mild. The adjustments have a range
in order to cover extreme situations (such as a
badly recorded live concert, a band demo, or an
overly screechy rock singer). Most of the time,
though, the less you adjust, the better the
sound. If you find that you have to boost the
bass all the way up to get a pleasing result with
all of your music, something else in the system
might need adjustment. Are the speakers too
far away from a wall? Move them closer, and
you'll get increased bass response without over-
taxing the amplifier. Is the sound too bright,
and does it echo too much? Take a look at the
room. If it's all hard surfaces and wood floors,
see if you can introduce a throw rug or curtains
somewhere, which will help dampen the sound
and even out the treble.
Like Nails On A
Dealing with harsh treble is more difficult on
just about any system. The problem is that the
treble control adjusts a fairly wide range of
sound, meaning that you're going to boost or
cut too much music content at once. Drum kit
cymbals, for example, inhabit higher frequencies
than, say, the "sss" and "p" sounds on a vocal. If
you cut the treble, you're affecting all of them at
once. You might fix the nasty cymbals, but now
Anthony Kiedis sounds like he's singing into a
towel. Still, a mild cut or boost can help deal
with muffled or overly tinny sounding music.
Easy On The
Home theater systems, on the other hand, often
have the exact opposite problem. Many of
these systems come with bass modules or pow-
ered subwoofers, along with five smaller satellite
speakers. The subwoofer is often set way too
loud from the factory in order to impress cus-
tomers in the store. This might sound good for
some movies, but it makes everything else
sound boomy. Placing the subwoofer module
near a wall or corner makes it worse, which is
usually what most people do in order to blend
the system with their decor. If your subwoofer
has a separate level control independent of the
bass and treble controls, try turning it down. In
fact, don't be afraid to make it almost zero.
by Jamie Lendino
34 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
ecorder with TiVo® service.
The HUMAX DVD Recorder makes it easy to control television and create DVDs. That's because the same great TiVo"
service that lets you find and store your favorite programs, guides you through the process of burning a DVD.
And don't worry about shelf space. This little box takes the place of three components. It's an 80-hour TiVo Series2™
DVR, an advanced DVD player, and an easy-to-use DVD Recorder. So search for shows and save them on the hard
drive or burn them right to a DVD. With the HUMAX DVD Recorder, your shows can go wherever you go, easy.
Contact HUMAX at 866-486-2987 or www.humaxusa.com
1 i -_,! ELECTRONICS
3 (n) e DO
° a S M J'* COMPUTK WOBID ■
© 2004 HUMAX Company, Ltd. All rights reserved. "Easy Digital" is a registered trademark of HUMAX Company, Ltd. TiVo and the TiVo logo are registered
trademarks of TiVo Inc. Series2 is a trademark of TiVo Inc. TiVo service is required and sold separately. No functionality is represented or should be
expected without a paid subscription to the TiVo service. Pricing, terms and conditions subject to change. Receipt of TiVo service is subject to the terms
of the TiVo service agreement. TiVo service is accessed through a standard telephone line and is available as a local call in most areas. In some
areas, local and long-distance toll charges may apply. Actual recording capacity depends on signal quality and type of programming being recorded
36 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Portable DVD Players
Are we there yet? '
People would pay just about anything to never hear those words again, and
thanks to the current crop of portable DVD players, getting that wish granted is
cheaper than ever. These portable devices, which usually resemble notebook
PCs but lack keyboards and are designed solely for playing DVDs, are available in
a variety of shapes and sizes and at a variety of price points. Knowing what to
look for and what advantages these devices can provide is essential if you want
to catch some flicks during your next road trip.
Portable DVD Pros & Cons
Portable DVD players have two main advantages compared to other tech-
nologies — size and price. Most of these devices are small and thin enough to
slip into a carry-on or briefcase, and they're light enough that you won't mind
carrying them around. You may also play movies on DVD drives in notebook
PCs, but notebooks weigh more that portable DVD players and require more
battery power, and their screens are designed for
computer work, not for movie viewing. Portable
DVD players are also much cheaper than notebooks
or hard drive-based players, although models with
many advanced features and large screens cost
nearly as much as a decent notebook PC. Samsung's
DVD-L1200 ($999.99; www.samsung.com), for ex-
ample, has a relatively enormous 12-inch screen and
measures only about 1 inch thick when closed, but
it'll set you back nearly $1,000.
players have two
Unfortunately, portable DVD players have several
limitations. Perhaps the biggest potential drawback
inherent to a portable DVD player is the LCD tech-
nology used to make the screens. The quality of
these displays has improved dramatically over the
years, but it still varies wildly from player to player.
compared to other
size and price.
CELifestyles / May 2005 37
Portable DVD players are good
for far more than road trips.
Here are five unusual ways you can
get the most from your player.
• Cheer up a sick friend.
Watching TV at the hospital
stinks. If you have a friend or
loved one who's in for an ex-
tended stay, let her borrow your
player and bring her new rental
movies each time you visit.
• Bring Hollywood to the B&B.
Going to a bed & breakfast is
a great way to get away from
it all because most don't have
phones or TVs in the room,
but nothing sets the mood like
a romantic movie.
• Add a helper to the kitchen. If
your portable DVD player can
handle recordable DVDs, dump
your favorite cooking shows to
a disc and let them guide you
as you cook.
• Learn a foreign language. There
are plenty of good foreign lan-
guage instructional videos out
there, but watching them at
home is a chore. Pop them
in the portable and turn a
dull commute into a learning
• Home movies away from home.
Recording home movies to
DVD is great, but many people
have DVD players that can't
read the discs. If your portable
player can play recorded DVDs,
hook it up to other people's TVs
when you visit them and share
If you see a huge price difference be-
tween two units that have seemingly
identical specifications; most of the
time the cheaper one has a vastly infe-
rior screen. Cheap LCDs render fewer
colors than more expensive models
and also have poor contrast, meaning
whites look bright gray and blacks look
dark gray instead of being pure white
or pure black.
While the color and contrast problems
are bad enough, cheap LCDs generally
have poor response rates, as well. The re-
sponse rate tells you how quickly the
screen reacts when video images shift and
is measured in milliseconds with lower
numbers corresponding to faster reaction
times and better video quality. Screens
with slow response rates (20 milliseconds
or higher, depending on other factors)
leave ghost images on the screen when-
ever there's a lot of on-screen action,
making video look streaky. Manufacturers
rarely list response-rate times for their
products, so take a few action movies to
the store and play them on DVD players
you are considering to see if they can
handle all of the on-screen movement.
Portability vs. usability poses tremen-
dous issues for designers of these de-
vices. On the one hand, customers want
a portable DVD player to be as small as
possible for easy transport, but they also
want large screens so they can see more
detailed video. The need to play rela-
tively large DVDs and hold inside all of
the equipment that spins them also
means that portable DVD players will
never be as small as some of the devices
discussed in the "Mobile Video Alter-
natives" sidebar. DVD drives also rely on
a lot of delicate moving parts, making
them fragile, which is something you
definitely don't want with a product
that you'll be toting around and letting
your kids use.
Small form factors leave little room for
speakers, and the internal sound we've
heard from portable DVD players we've
auditioned is universally tinny, shrill at
high volume levels, and lacking in bass
response. The cure is a good set of head-
phones, so factor that into the price be-
cause the headphones that come with
most portable DVD players are of mar-
Battery life, or lack thereof, is another
major issue with these devices. LCDs
use backlights and transistors that re-
quire a lot of power, and because the
DVD spins constantly when a movie's
playing, the DVD drive sucks up a lot of
juice. Good players can operate for
three to four hours before requiring a
recharge, and some models, such as
Panasonic's DVD-LS55 ($499.95; www
.panasonic.com), claim a battery life of
10 hours. Real-world performance
varies so never expect to watch more
than one or two two-hour movies un-
less you've connected the player to an
external power source. Turning down
the volume can help conserve battery
life, especially if you use the player's in-
tegrated speakers, but the best way to
squeeze a few more minutes from your
player is to turn down the brightness of
38 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
What To Watch For
If you decide the benefits of a portable
DVD player outweigh its disadvantages,
there are several features to consider
when comparing competing models.
Form factors and design elements.
Most portable DVD players use a
clamshell design where the LCD forms
a lid that folds down on the base; it's
similar to a notebook PC. Clamshell
models are easy to carry and are rela-
tively rugged because the screen is
protected when the unit is closed.
When open, their relatively large bases
make it easy to balance the device on
your lap or set on an airplane's seat
tray. Because the screen is on a hinge,
positioning it so you view it at the best
angle is a snap.
Some models, such as Panasonic's DVD-
LX8 ($699.99; www.panasonic.com) take
this a step further by letting the screen
pivot, as well as tilt, which is great for
watching movies on a plane because
you don't have to worry about the base
of the player hanging off of the edge of
the seat tray.
Many portable DVD players protect the
DVD drive with a plastic lid that pops
up so you can insert or remove discs.
That means you must open the DVD
player to swap discs, which is sometimes
awkward when you're listening to CDs
instead of watching videos and want to
Player small enough to
fit in car or sling
Salespeople let you
demo your own DVDs
Plenty of accessories
Note necessary A/V
inputs and outputs
Good battery life
Your backseat passengers may
want to watch a movie
without bothering you, the driver,
but most portable players have
only one headphone jack. Solve
this problem by buying an inex-
pensive Y-splitter that turns one
headphone jack into two jacks.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 39
The popularity of portable DVD
players has spawned an industry
of related accessories, and most are
actually useful. Some players have
integrated batteries that you can't
swap out for fully-charged spares,
but for long car trips, for example,
you'll likely prefer players that sup-
port swappable batteries. (Just be
aware that extra batteries are ex-
pensive.) Look for players that
come with their own car power
plug adapters so you don't have to
buy a separate adapter kit. Players
with international AC power plug
adapters are nice if you travel fre-
quently, although you can find
If you want to
to a TV
to its video
put in a new disc. The alternative is a
slot-loading drive, which pulls discs into
a slot in the front or side of the unit.
Slot-loading players are less popular be-
cause they're fragile; the insertion and
eject mechanism in these types of drives
often fails if you drop the player because
there are a lot of extra moving parts.
Inputs & Outputs
Most portable DVD players have a va-
riety of input and output ports that let
you use them in various ways. For ex-
ample, portable DVD players with video
outputs let you connect the player to a
TV and use it as a standard DVD player,
while units with optical digital outputs
let you connect them to surround-
sound stereo systems for vastly im-
proved sound. An increasing number of
portable DVD players have integrated
FM transmitters that let them send
audio to your car's FM radio so you can
listen to movies over your car's speakers
wirelessly by tuning to a specific FM
channel. Some portable DVD players
also have video input ports so you can
connect them to other devices, such as
camcorders or video game consoles, and
use the LCD to display incoming video.
If you want to connect your portable
DVD player to a TV, pay attention to its
video output ports. Cheaper units have
only composite and S-Video outputs,
which have relatively poor video quality
but work well with older TVs that don't
support newer connections. If your
newer TV supports component video
(or better yet progressive scan via com-
ponent video), look for a portable DVD
40 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
player that supports component video
output. Not all portable DVD players
support progressive-scan video, which
reduces flickering on the screen and
provides brighter and more detailed
video output, but if your TV supports
progressive-scan, buying a player that
can output that signal will vastly im-
prove the look of DVD movies.
Most commercial DVDs have Dolby
Digital or DTS surround-sound sound-
tracks embedded in them that sound
great when piped to a surround-sound
speaker setup. Make sure you have the
right hardware with your portable DVD
player to take advantage of this im-
proved audio. Extracting the surround-
sound information requires a Dolby
Digital or DTS decoder, and some
portable DVD players have this extra
hardware built in. Most, however, are
designed to send the raw signal to a sur-
round-sound receiver that has its own
decoder. You'll need at least one de-
coder in the chain, and you'll hear sur-
round sound (assuming you enable the
surround-sound track using the DVD's
The most basic portable DVD players
handle only the commercial DVD movies
you buy or rent, along with commercial
audio CDs. An increasing number of
players can also read other disc formats.
Recordable CD and DVD formats are the
most common, including CD-R (CD-
recordable), CD-RW (CD-rewriteable),
DVD-R (DVD-recordable), DVD-RW
(DVD-rewriteable), DVD+R (another
recordable DVD format), and DVD+RW
(another rewriteable DVD format). If you
have a camcorder, computer, or stand-
alone recorder that records any of these
discs, try to find a portable DVD player
that'll play them.
DVD Audio is a high-quality sound
format that some portable DVD players
support, but you won't be able to get
the most out of these discs without
connecting the player to a surround-
sound system, particularly if you use
your portable DVD player as your pri-
mary DVD player. Many portable
players can handle recorded CDs or
DVDs that contain compressed digital
music files, such as MP3 or MPA tracks,
and many also display JPEG (Joint
Photographic Experts Group) images
recorded to a CD or DVD (such as those
on Kodak Picture Discs). If you are one
of the unfortunate souls who bought
VCDs (Video CDs) when that failed
format appeared, there are a few
portable DVD players that can play
VCD movies. S§
by Tracy Baker
If your portable DVD player
doesn't have an FM transmitter
and you want to listen to audio
through your car's speakers, look
for a cassette-tape adapter that con-
nects to the portable player's head-
phone or audio out jack and pipes
sound to your car's cassette tape
player. External FM transmitters
also are available, but the sound
generally isn't as good as that of a
To make your portable pull
double-duty as a home DVD
player, as well, look for a model
that includes a remote control or
supports one. Also consider units
with docking cradles that remain
permanently connected to the TV,
while the portable DVD player
easily disconnects from the cradle
for travel. Panasonic's DVD-LX9,
for example, has a docking cradle
that helps justify the unit's
$899.95 retail price.
When you want to use the
portable player in a car, look
for a unit that's compatible with a
sling. A sling holds the player (and
movies and accessories) and straps to
the back of a car seat so viewers
don't have to balance the unit on
their laps. It's a must-have accessory
for people with kids. Portable DVD
players are already convenient, but
with the right mix of accessories,
you can tailor your player to meet
your everyentertainment need.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 41
Find The Right Fit For Your Household
42 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
ortable DVD players are
quickly gaining momentum
to join the ranks of "neces-
sary" personal equipment along with
cell phones, notebook computers,
iPods, and gaming consoles. CD players
are out, and portable DVD players are
in. Why? These amazing little machines
can do it all: play movies, games, and
music; tune into local radio and televi-
sion stations; and even double as ex-
ternal storage devices when connected
to a PC through a USB port. Most
models feature CD-R/RW and DVD-
R/RW capabilities, which means they are
complete, all-in-one entertainment cen-
ters that families and professionals can
take on the road or transport with ease
from home to school to the office.
So, while traveling cross-country to the
Grand Canyon this summer, gather
'round the campfire with family and
friends and plug your portable DVD
player into your vehicle's cigarette
lighter (or just use the rechargeable,
long-life battery). Listen to your favorite
CD while roasting weenies over the fire
or squeeze in close, turn the swivel
screen so everyone can see, and watch
"The Incredibles." Tomorrow morning,
mount the player on the back of the
front seat's headrest and let the kids
watch "Peter Pan" in the back. This en-
tertainment tool can be a lifesaver on
long trips and makes the miles go by
much faster. It also minimizes the num-
ber of times you have to hear the age-
old, frequently asked question, "Are we
Not only do kids want to watch movies
in the car or in their bedrooms if their
siblings are watching their favorite
shows on TV in the living room, they
also want to see a clear picture through
the glaring sun and hear clear sounds
over the hum of the highway. And they
want to be comfortable if they have to
share the screen or sound with a sister
or friend. Manufacturers have dozens of
features to make your experience with
your portable DVD player as satisfying
to you— and your kids— as it can be.
Visuals. DVD player choices seem end-
less, with myriad features for every situa-
tion and each individual's specific needs.
For example, the Adaptive Image Control
in Samsung's DVD-L300 ($699.99; www
.samsung.com) lets you choose the most
effective view for various lighting condi-
tions. Some LCDs, such as the Panasonic
DVD-LS50 ($399.99; www.panasonic
.com), reduce glare— another useful fea-
ture for kids traveling with the setting
sun glaring through the car's back-
Other models offer adjustable screen
brightness, a high-resolution display,
widescreen and conventional or let-
terbox formats, and screens that swivel
up to 180 degrees for multiple viewing
angles (such as Toshiba's SD-P2700
Sound. Your player's internal sound
system may offer weak audio, virtual
can do it all:
music; tune into
local radio and
and even double
CELifestyles / May 2005 43
surround sound, or Dolby Digital.
Audiovox's 8-inch D1810 ($529; www
.audiovox.com) has Dolby Digital DTS,
Q-Surround Sound with built-in stereo
speakers; players with these features can
double for stereo systems at parties,
poolside, or at the beach. The sound
quality is that good.
Some portable DVD
carrying cases let you
hang your player
from the back of the
front seat's headrest
so those in the back-
seat can view the
screen easily without
having to hold
features to their
systems to remain
Extras. Manufacturers are adding fea-
tures to their systems to remain com-
petitive in the market. For example, if
the adults want to listen to the in-car
stereo, portable DVD players let you
attach headphones, including those
with a Y connector for shared listening.
But, you have four children and you are
afraid all those headphone cords are
going to get tangled across two rows
of seats and four little squirming bod-
ies in the minivan? No problem. Many
portable players have two headphone
jacks, and many headphones today
Clarion recently released model
VRX755VD ($1,599.99; www.clarion
.com), an in -car DVD player that offers an
integrated iPod interface. Using a touch-
screen control pad, you can see your
iPod's playlist, song, and artist informa-
tion and play songs right from your iPod.
Another unique feature of this player is
the 2 Zone Entertainment system, which
lets you view and/or listen to two sources
simultaneously. This means that Mom
can dial up Sirius Satellite Radio or listen
to her favorite CD while the kids watch
a movie in the backseat. (See "The Mul-
timedia Car" on page 31 to learn more
about the Clarion VRX755VD.)
Some portable DVD players also have
progressive scan video outputs for a
high-quality picture, an integrated or op-
tional TV tuner, A/V inputs and outputs
including S-Video, built-in or recharge-
able batteries, a wireless remote control,
IR (infrared) wireless headphones, an FM
transmitter, game ports, a joystick, built-
in games, stereo speakers, or a cable-
ready TV module.
If you're worried about protecting your
player and these valuable features, a
multitude of heavy-duty cases are avail-
able with tough sleeves; thick, protec-
tive padding; weatherproof sealers to
shield players from inclement condi-
tions; adjustable cushioned dividers; and
44 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
sturdy Koskin, nylon, leather, neoprene,
and/or simulated leather exteriors.
Check out the "Standalone Accessories"
sidebar for some examples.
Price. The list of portable players, fea-
tures, and accessories goes on forever,
and the costs reflect each system's
quality and enhancements. Prices range
from as low as around $80 to around
$1,500. These are the extremes; most
players fall into a price range somewhere
between $125 and $500. Adding nu-
merous accessories can, of course, inflate
these initial costs, but don't worry, prices
always come down — until the next new
technology dawns on the horizon, and
then the cycle starts all over.
A Player For Active
Most portable DVD players are du-
rable, lightweight, and thin. GoVideo
(www.govideo.com) has a sporty and
super kid-friendly line of portable
GoVideo's Off-Road players, models
DP6240, 7240, and 8240 (see the "Go-
Video's Kid-Friendly Portable DVD
Player Line" chart for pricing informa-
tion), offer Anti-Shock Protection and
Impact Shield Rubber Edges. The com-
pany designed these Off-Road players
for the "rigors of an active lifestyle." The
other four models, the DP5040, 6040,
A ccessories for portable
#m DVD players are
electricity, cigarette lighter
on the back of the front
durable nylon that trans-
adapters for the car, cables
seat headrest for children's
forms from car theater to
available in abundance,
to transfer the picture on
viewing. This carrying case
carrying case to backpack
and the list continues to
your portable DVD player
has a rigid frame but a
in a matter of seconds.
expand. Some portable
to a larger screen, USB ca-
padded interior to keep
Kids can take this model
DVD players include stan-
bles for computer connec-
your player (with up to a
to summer camp, after-
dard accessories such as
tions, and connectors that
7-inch display) safe while
school daycare, sleepovers
plug into existing in-car
with cousins and friends,
adapters, remote controls,
Targus Group Inter-
or up the ladder to the tree
and headphones, but other
Other favorite acces-
national has seven portable
house. It has padded
manufacturers (in order to
sories include a TV tuner
DVD cases to fit your ac-
shoulder straps for back-
offer their products at a
for catching local broad-
tive lifestyle and equip-
packing comfort, a side-
lower price) charge extra
casts (especially the
ment. Favorites include
strap, briefcase handle
for these items.
weather while traveling),
the Targus Mini Sport
for hand carrying, safety
an FM transmitter for
bumpers to protect your
include credit card-sized
playing audio files through
a sporty, lightweight case
player and DVDs, front
remote controls, folding
your car stereo, external
made of neoprene for
storage pockets to hold
headphones with Y connec-
speakers for entertaining
players with up to 8.9-inch
accessories, and a head-
tors for dual or multiple
bigger crowds at birthday
screens and the Targus
listening, retractable ear-
parties or other social
Vehicle Travel Case
If you shop around,
phones, and extended-life
gatherings, and an assort-
($39.99), which is for
you are sure to find a case
batteries. Many manu-
ment of durable DVD
players with up to 1 0-inch
that will be comfortable for
facturers also include a
player travel cases.
screens and is made of
you to carry and keep your
number of cables and
heavy-duty nylon with
player safe throughout
adapters for multiple in-
Deluxe Carrying Case
mesh pockets. Targus' ver-
puts or outputs, such as
satile Travel Backpack
DC adapters for standard
.com) hangs conveniently
($29.99) is made of
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 45
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7040, and 8440, are Entertainment On
The Go systems and share some of
the same components and features as
the Off-Road players. They all have
rechargeable batteries, various adapters
including the cigarette lighter adapter,
and headphone jacks, but no head-
phones. And the DP7040 and 8440 have
an optional 181-channel TV tuner that
converts portable players into portable
televisions. Very few of the other avail-
able players boast, or even mention,
their systems' strength and durability.
Just For Kids
One of the newest portable DVD inno-
vations was designed just for kids —
specifically, kids younger than 15. In
January Samsung unveiled the new
Hand Held Mini DVD Player, affection-
ately nicknamed DVD Jr. It has a 2.5-
inch LCD and supports popular formats
such as JPEG (Joint Photographic Ex-
perts Group), MP3, and 3-inch cam-
corder and home recorded DVDs.
Warner Home Video partnered with
Samsung (and several other electronic
manufacturers with similar devices) to
offer a vast archive of Mini DVD movies
and entertainment programs. These
3-inch discs also work on standard DVD
players that play 5-inch DVDs. So, in
case parents want to watch some of
their children's favorites, they can pur-
chase the smaller media without fear
that it will only run on their son's
3.5-inch screen. Initial releases include
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
Azkaban," the X-Men series, popular
cartoons and animated films, and televi-
Samsung has an aggressive merchan-
dising plan for their new baby, but
many in the industry say aggressive or
not, DVD Jr. will sweep the planet, just
like video games did when they first
Accessories include a 2.5-hour NiMH
(nickel-metal hydride) rechargeable bat-
tery, a DC power jack, a headphone port
(no headphones), and one free Warner
Brothers title (with a mail-in offer for
two more). The DVD Jr. is scheduled for
release in April 2005 for $149.99.
Similar to the DVD Jr., the Microtek
FunView S350 ($199.99; www.micro
tekusa.com) has a 3.5-inch TFT LCD, a
compact, lightweight design, and a fun
circular shape with no sharp corners or
One of the newest portable DVD
innovations was designed just for
kids— specifically, kids younger than
15. In January Samsung unveiled the
new Hand Held Mini DVD Player,
affectionately nicknamed DVD Jr.
Keep The Car
The JAVOeBuds retractable ear-
phones ($18.95; www.javoedge
.com) are the first earphones de-
signed with a retractable mecha-
nism, a small but lovely innovation
for keeping cords organized. These
lightweight, comfortable, but
durable earphones are travel-
friendly for adults but not rec-
ommended for kids. They are
available in two sizes, 2.5mm and
3.5mm, and they are compatible
with all audio devices including
notebook computers and the iPod.
Shure's E Series earphones ($99
to $499; www.shure.com) use flex
or foam sleeves to block back-
ground noise and produce studio-
quality sound. And because ears
come in different shapes and sizes,
Shure offers three pairs (small,
medium, and large) of disposable
foam and disposable flex sleeves for
a comfortable, custom fit. Each
pair weighs about an ounce, and
each set includes a zippered car-
rying case with a spool to keep your
earphones from getting tangled.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 47
Here are some features you
may want to look for when
you shop for your ideal portable
Sturdy, rugged body
Easily portable for entertain-
ment on the go
Dual, retractable earphones
for shared listening
Cigarette lighter adapter for
5- to 12-inch swivel screens
GoVideo's Kid-Friendly Portable DVD Player Line
Size & Format
5 -inch standard LCD
6.2-inch widescreen LCD
6.2-inch widescreen LCD
7-inch widescreen LCD
7-inch widescreen LCD
8.4-inch widescreen LCD
8.4-inch widescreen LCD
edges. And to make the player ideal for
kids to use, Microtek included a port for
headphones and a built-in stand for
The only downfall with these systems
is the lack of physical durability that
a kid's player needs. Although cute
and certainly a comfortable size, the
Microtek FunView S350 and even
Samsung's DVD Jr. should have hard
shells, tough skin, and a simple GUI
(graphical user interface). These two
products' designs cannot compare to
GoVideo's rugged, kid-friendly, active-
lifestyle product line.
A Focus On Family
Times change, and in the electronics
world, they are changing faster than ever.
Most kids learn to type and play video
games much earlier in life than they did
even 10 years ago. And as you can see,
some devices (including portable DVD
players) aren't just for adults anymore.
As the consumer electronics industry
continues to evolve, manufacturers will
undoubtedly continue to focus on devel-
oping electronics that work well for your
growing family. SH
by Julie Sartain
48 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
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Size Does Matter
ortable DVD players
are growing in popularity as
many realize the benefits of
taking these devices on air-
planes, in the car, or simply to
another room of the house while a
family member watches the main TV.
But if you take your DVD player with
you often, inches and ounces can add
up, especially when you consider you'll
also be packing a rechargeable battery
and other accessories. And if you're
carrying luggage, a laptop, briefcase,
shoulder bag, or other items, a couple of
extra, unnecessary pounds could be the
When shopping for a portable DVD
player, you can easily focus only on fea-
tures such as image and sound quality
and overlook features such as size and
weight. With screen sizes ranging from
3.5 to 12 inches and weights from 1.5 to
4 pounds, size and weight should be just
as important a consideration.
But now that many players have evolved
so that some units are smaller than a
paperback book, you may find yours as
indispensable as a cell phone. Who says
you have to be glued to the entertain-
ment center to watch a movie? Enjoy
"Message in a Bottle" as you soak in a
luxurious bath or take a break, crawl
into bed, and relax while watching "Lost
in Translation." Or, you can work out
with your Pilates DVD indoors or out.
Use your DVD player to listen to CDs or
MP3 music or take your portable DVD
player to Grandma's cabin, hook it up
to the TV, and show her your digital
photos or video of your daughter's
Know Where You'll Watch
With so many sizes available and so
many ways to use a portable DVD
player, you must consider where you'll
be watching this device so you can find
one that looks great and fits your
lifestyle. Size and weight can affect how
clear your picture is and if your DVD
player will be easy to carry with you
where you want to take it.
If you need a small unit you can fit into
your purse or small bag, you likely
won't get the same image quality
found in a larger unit. On a smaller
unit, image distortion can be a prob-
lem unless you're looking straight at
the screen. A player with a 5-inch
screen, such as the Audiovox D1500B
($169; www.audiovox.com), might
seem suitable to have on while you put
on makeup in the morning, but you
probably won't want it to occupy
three kids spread across the backseat
on a long road trip.
For two people sitting on an airplane, the
DVD player will probably sit on one per-
son's tray table. The person who's viewing
from an angle will possibly see a distorted
image on a smaller screen. For this pur-
pose, aim to buy no smaller than a 7-inch
widescreen. Two options for a 7-inch
player are the GoVideo DP7040 ($199.99;
www.govideo.com) and the IDM-1731
($199; www.initialdvd.com), which mea-
sures 1.5 inches high x 7.5 inches wide x
5.6 inches deep (closed on a flat surface)
and weighs about 1.75 pounds.
You might consider a bigger unit such as
the 8.4-inch GoVideo DP8440 ($297.99;
www.govideo.com). In many ways it's a
fairly typical portable DVD player. It sup-
ports MP3s and JPEG (Joint Photo-
graphic Experts Group) digital image
files, plays CDs as well as DVDs, and has
outputs for connecting to digital sur-
round sound. This model weighs 2.09
pounds and has an optional DPT100 TV
tuner accessory ($49.99), so you can use
the player as a little television.
Another option is a portable DVD
player with two screens. These are es-
pecially suitable for long drives with
kids. However, adding a screen in-
creases the weight you have to carry.
With a feature like this, you have to
decide if the screens are more impor-
tant to you than the added hassle of
the extra part. All Durabrand portable
DVD players, sold at Wal-Mart, feature
two screens — one that's in the player
and a separate screen that connects to
it. With the model PVS1960 (Funai;
$278; www.walmart.com), which has
two 6.2-inch screens, one child can
even watch a movie while the other
plays video games.
Weight is not really an issue if
your portable DVD unit
merely travels from the kitchen to
the craft table to the bedroom or if
it just hangs on the back of the
front seat's headrest in the car for
the kids. But it becomes a huge
issue if one, you're carrying it from
Concourse A to Concourse D and
two, you're schlepping a laptop,
briefcase, mega-purse, and shop-
ping bags along with it. After five
minutes, the load you thought was
manageable seems to gain weight
with every step you take.
So, when you're shopping for a
portable DVD player, don't only
be dazzled by the sleek-looking
unit with a brushed aluminum
finish. Do a reality check before
you take it home. What does it
weigh? Will it fit in your purse or
wherever you plan to take it? If you
travel a lot or plan to carry the
player in your backpack or purse
often, aim for a lighter player that
weighs around 2.5 pounds or less.
If you will likely only move your
DVD player from room to room at
home, you can buy a player that
weighs up to 4 pounds and prob-
ably not be bothered by the extra
weight. Make an appropriate
choice, and you won't ever have to
decide to leave the player at home
because it's too bulky or heavy.
Also consider whether the player is
widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) or con-
ventional (4:3 aspect ratio). A wide-
screen unit offers more viewing area
than a conventional screen and is easier
to view from an angle.
Tote A Tiny Portable
Sometimes you want to do your own
thing, but you get talked into going
somewhere you'd rather not be. If
you're sitting in a testosterone-filled
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 51
Get A Larger
Unit If . . .
*?* Your kids will insist on
^4* watching the entire
first season of "SpongeBob
SquarePants" on a road trip to
*?* On a flight, you and your
#r 4* husband will watch a movie
at the same time so someone may
be viewing the screen at an angle.
if* Some relatives at your
*<»* upcoming family reunion
have failing eyesight, and you want
to show the photos you took at
the last reunion.
You can't imagine having to
squint to see Johnny Depp.
*f* You'll need to follow direc-
^T* tions from a scrapbooking
or other craft DVD.
You'll view it at a distance
from your treadmill.
Samsung 12-inch DVD-L1200
$999.99 • www.samsung.com
Audiovox 5-inch D1500B
$169 • www.audiovox.com
theater getting dizzy from watching car
chases, take out your little DVD player,
put on your headphones, and discreetly
watch "Thelma and Louise" or another
favorite that your husband would never
watch with you at home.
These little portables, along with most
portable DVD players, can connect to a
TV with the right cables. One model is
the 3.5-inch Coby TF-DVD500 (around
$175; www.coby.com). Its composite
video output may not give you the best
TV picture, but when you're packing
without an inch of space to spare, it's
hard to beat this player's compact size.
(For the best quality image on a TV,
your portable DVD player should have a
component video or S-Video output.)
The latest gizmo for kids, launched this
year at CES (Consumer Electronics
Show) in Las Vegas, is Samsung's DVD
Jr. ($149.99; www.samsung.com), a
handheld unit that plays 3-inch Mini
DVDs on a 2. 5-inch screen. Samsung
has partnered with Warner Home
Video to provide Mini DVD titles, and
while now there is a limited number of
cartoons and movies on 60-minute
discs, more titles will soon become
available from Warner, as well as other
studios. A typical movie requires two
discs to fit all the content, and Mini
DVDs are priced about the same as
movies on regular 5-inch DVDs. You
can also play the Mini DVDs on your
standard home DVD player. The DVD
Jr. is small and lightweight — about the
size of a hamburger — so you don't
have to worry about causing Susie's
back to hurt when you add it to all
the other stuff in her backpack. (See
"Family-Friendly DVD Players: Find The
52 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Right Fit For Your Household" on page
42 to learn more about the DVD Jr.)
Check The Specs
It would be logical to think that you
could judge the weight of a unit by its
price and/or screen size, but this isn't
necessarily true. Consider the rather ex-
pensive Toshiba 8.9-inch SD-P2600
($599.99; www.tacp.toshiba.com). It
offers features not found on most
portable DVD players, including a bat-
tery with three and a half hours of play
and component video output with
1,024 x 600 resolution for a superior pic-
ture. Its dimensions are 1.25 x 10.25 x 7
inches, but at just under 4 pounds, it's
one of the heaviest units on the market.
Compare that to Samsung's 12-inch DVD-
LI 200 ($999.99; www.samsung.com). It
comes with three headphone jacks,
weighs 3.3 pounds, and is a manageable
The weight and size of a unit are impor-
tant factors to consider when deciding
which portable DVD player to buy. These
factors affect how your picture looks and
how easy your unit is to use and carry
with you to all the places you'd like to
take it. Also, figure another pound or so
for essential and optional accessories.
Remember the AC adapter/charger, car
adapter/charger, extra battery, A/V ca-
bles, remote control, headphones, and
users manual. And, of course, you'll prob-
ably carry your favorite movie, photo CD,
and music CD with you, as well. S§
by Leanna Skarnulis
Get A Smaller
Unit If . . .
You'll always watch it solo.
*fm You'll carry it in your
*4* shoulder bag or backpack
with your laptop.
It will have to fit with other
survival gear in a diaper bag.
*?* You'll likely connect it to a
•<|>* TV in a hotel room when
0t# You'd like to discourage
*4* fellow cruise passengers
*f* It will sit directly in front
*4* of you on your tray table
during a flight.
CE Lifestyles / May 2005 53
To let the music find you.. A
all you need to know
Anywhere in your home, indoors or out,
there can be music. Or sports. Or news.
A Russound multi-room audio system is
affordable, easy to use and easy to DO.
It's the kind of home improvement that .
brings you pleasure every day. Just ask
your Russound design specialist for
a solution that meets your needs and
budget. Put Russound in your plans!
System Control Keypad
Alt you need to operate your multi-room system
• Intuitive operation -just a few buttons and an informative display
• Built-in IR sensor relays commands from wireless remotes
• Programmable labels describe your system in words you know
Multi-Room A/V Controller/Amplifier
All you need to manage and power your multi-room system
• Manages 6 separate audio/video sources
• Delivers sound and video wherever you want it
All you need for your digital music collection
• Holds your entire music collection, and archives new CDs as you play them
• Delivers three independent streams of music on demand
• Categorizes music by artist, genre, etc., and even learns your preferences
All you need for broadcast music, news, and sports programs ^^^
• Contains two AM/FM or XM Satellite Radio tuners xm ^j,,
• Delivers two independent streams of music on demand <£^
All you need to enjoy the sounds of your multi-room system
• Choice of in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor models
• Available in many sizes and performance levels
• Flush-mount and paintable - heard, but nearly invisible
www.russound.com I tel 800.638.8055 I audio I video I affordable I anywhere
Founded in 1 967, Russound is a global leader in A/V solutions that set the standard for performance and ease of use.
©2004 Russound, Inc. ©2004 XM Satellite Radio Inc. All rights reserved. The XM name and related logos are registered trademarks of XM Satellite Radio Inc.
Unlike an interlaced image (exaggerated in the center and left images), the entire progressive-scan
image is redrawn every second. Interlaced images redraw half of the image, which can produce flicker.
rogressive scan is quickly be-
coming a standard feature on
all but the most basic DVD
players. It's an integral com-
ponent in much of today's
HDTV programming, and even some
video game consoles are getting in on
the act. To explain what it is, we'll start
with the basics of how a video signal dis-
plays on-screen. Although video appears
to be a constant moving image, it's ac-
tually composed of individual still pic-
tures called frames. When shown in
rapid succession — SD (standard def-
inition) video runs at 30 frames per
second — the human eye and brain as-
semble these images into a continuous
SD video signals are interlaced. (Some
HDTV signals are, too, but that's an-
other story.) In an interlaced signal, half
of the frame, also known as a field, illu-
minates the screen for 1/60 of a second,
followed by the other half for 1/60 of a
second. Because of the manner in which
the frame is divided into halves, image
quality is degraded by jagged edges on
moving objects, annoying flicker, and
loss of detail.
Progressive scan delivers frames to the
screen in a slightly different fashion.
Instead of illuminating the screen with
60 fields (half-frames) per second, pro-
gressive scan delivers 60 full frames per
second. The result is far smoother mo-
tion, greater detail, and a purer, more
To see progressive scan in action, you
will first need a progressive-scan
source. This can be a progressive scan
DVD player, a video game console
adapted to output progressive scan, or
an HD-TV signal source in the 720p
(the "p" stands for progressive) format.
This HDTV signal can originate from
broadcast, cable, or satellite. 720p is
one of two common HDTV formats
and is used by ESPN and other content
providers. You'll also have to have a TV
capable of handling this increased
picture information. After all, although
the images are still illuminating the
screen at the rate of 60 per second,
each progressive-scan image contains a
lot more picture data because it's a full
frame instead of a half, and it takes
more horsepower to get this more ro-
bust imagery onto the screen. The con-
nection between source and television
will take the form of component video,
a tri-cable pathway typically color-
coded red, green, and blue. Depending
on the content, the improvement in
image quality with progressive scan can
be dramatic. S§
by Jerry Hatchett
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 55
t a 1 i bratecf
www . nhthi f i .com
Qurio's Software Simplifies Photo Sharing
ith the digital camera
boom of recent years, the
number of services that let
you take and share photos has greatly in-
creased. We can only truly appreciate to-
day's technological revolutions by looking
at where we've been. In the "old" days,
when a friend wanted a copy of a picture
from last weekend's get-together, you'd
have to sort through your negatives
and find the right one. She'd then have
to take the negative to a photo-pro-
cessing center and order a reprint.
After she got the reprint, you'd have
to put away the negative in its ap-
propriate place. What a hassle!
Thankfully, photo-sharing Web
sites make this process much
easier. Qurio (www.qurio.com) is
one of the newer photo-sharing
services that is doing this with
its Qurio 1.3 software.
What Is Qurio?
Qurio is a Web-based
photo-sharing tool that
lets you easily share digital
photos with friends and
family. It also lets you
edit pictures and create
unique photo gifts.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 57
from other photo-
sharing software and Web
sites, such as Shutterfly (www.shut
terfly.com), Adobe Photoshop Album
(www.adobe.com), and Picasa (www
.picasa.com) in that your PC becomes
the server for sharing photos. This means
that your friends and family do not have
to log into a remote server. Instead, they
log directly onto your computer to view
With Qurio, the pictures stay on your
computer, making editing pictures
faster and eliminating the time spent
uploading pictures to the Web that
other sites require. Because your PC is
the server, you need a high-speed In-
ternet connection and a computer
that's always online, so your friends and
family can access your photos.
At press time, to create digital albums,
edit pictures, and create photo gifts,
you need Qurio 1.3. Qurio 1.3 requires
Win-dows XP/2000, Internet Explorer
5.2 or newer, 256MB of RAM, a screen
resolution of 1,024 x 768, 500MB of free
hard-drive space, and a DSL (Digital
Subscriber Line) or cable mo-
dem high-speed Internet con-
nection. Check Qurio's Web site
for the most recent version and
When you've met the minimum
system requirements, head to
www.qurio.com and click Down-
load Now. When the download is
complete, open the file and pro-
ceed with installation.
When you start Qurio for the
first time, it will ask you to se-
lect a user ID and password.
Remember that other users
Qurio's Mini Photo Books offer a new way
to display your photos.
(friends, family, and the general public)
will use your user ID to view your
photos, so make it easy to remember
but don't use information you
wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with
a stranger, such as your full name, pass-
word, or address. Once you've success-
fully obtained your user ID and
password, you're ready to begin using
Friends and family may access photos
you post on your Web site and down-
load them to their machines or order
prints using their own Web browsers. If
they choose to download pictures to
their machines, they may edit them and
print them on their own computers.
The beauty of Qurio is that it eliminates
the need for family and friends to install
special software to view or order prints:
Our Mini Photo Book
We ordered a Mini Photo Book to see what the final product looks like.
It is bound by a method called side stitching, which means that the
pages are stapled together on the side rather than on the fold or spine.
Because of this, some of the pages may appear slightly off-center. You can
adjust this before printing your book by shrinking your pictures on the page
and allowing for a margin. A customer-support representative at Qurio says
the April release corrects this problem because the program automatically
sets the correct margins. The side stitching also makes it rather difficult to
open the book fully.
The print quality of the photos in the book is decent, but the printed pic-
tures look more like a print on a color laser printer than of a high gloss photo
print. The paper used in the Mini Photo Book is acid-free, archival quality
paper. Unlike images you print on your inkjet printer, the pictures in your
Mini Photo Book won't smudge.
Our Mini Photo Book had some errors in it, but Qurio's customer service
responded quickly to fix the problems. Although it took three reprints to get it
right, we're satisfied with our book and with Qurio. Qurio has assured us that
this is not a common problem.
We were pleased with the Mini Photo Book we ordered. The service was
easy to use, and although the book wasn't as glossy and professional looking
as we would have liked, it cost only $9.99. The photo book is a keepsake
that lets you commemorate special occasions, such as birthday parties, wed-
dings, and family vacations, and there are larger, hardcover books available,
58 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
This chart shows the cost of printing your photos in bulk at Qurio compared to the cost of
printing at Shutterfly, Ofoto, and Snapfish.
All they need is an Internet connection
and Internet Explorer 5.2 or newer.
Qurio recommends that you have a high-
speed Internet connection. However,
your friends and family who have dial-up
Internet connections can still view your
pictures, download them to print from
their PCs, and order prints from Qurio.
Qurio has another cool feature that pre-
vents your computer from slowing
down during times of high traffic, say
when 100 of your friends simultaneously
try to access one of your pictures. Qurio
set up a network of servers that makes
copies of recently accessed photos on
its servers. If your computer is bom-
barded with multiple requests, your
friends will instead access Qurio's server
for your popular pictures. Qurio also
double-checks its copy with your copy
to make sure your friends get the most
recent version of the picture.
Using Qurio is easy. First, you'll want to
import your photos. Find the folder
containing the pictures, right-click the
folder, and select Import To Qurio.
Qurio prompts you to enter informa-
tion to identify the photos. Once you've
imported the pictures, you can view
your album or invite friends and family
to see it.
Qurio makes it easy to import a great
number of photos located in various sub-
folders with one easy step. For example,
to bring all of the pictures in your My
Pictures folder and subfolders into Qurio,
follow the same steps as a regular import.
Qurio creates albums using the folder
names you have in My Pictures and
places the appropriate photos in each
album. This is especially convenient when
you're setting up Qurio for the first time.
You can also use the Qurio Photo
Importer, which lets you customize
settings so you can add picture infor-
mation such as artist, copyright, de-
scription, and keywords for each
picture. This is especially helpful when
you want to remember certain details
about a photo or when you want to
search for a photo using keywords.
You can also rotate the picture and se-
lect which album you want to put it in.
Look for the Qurio Photo Importer in
the System Tray next to your Windows
Desktop clock; click the Qurio icon to
Because there are usually some pictures
in our albums that we want to share and
others we want to keep private, we like
Qurio's ability to set permissions accord-
ingly. After importing your pictures and
organizing them into albums, you decide
who, if anyone, can see them. All albums
are initially set as Private, meaning that
Qurio's cost per print is in-line with other online photo-sharing sites such as
Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com), Ofoto (www.ofoto.com), and Snapfish
(www.snapfish.com). Although Qurio doesn't offer discounts for bulk purchases as
some sites do, its starting prices are competitive, but don't look for wallet-sized prints;
Qurio doesn't sell them. All of these sites offer similar photo-editing capabilities.
Here's a table of the prices assuming you're not ordering in bulk. See the "Print
Costs" chart for more information.
* (gives discounts for volume orders)
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 59
you as the owner are the only person
who can view them. Therefore, if you
want your friends and family to be able
to see the albums you've created, you'll
have to change the default setting from
Private to Public. Qurio automatically
changes an album to Public when you
send an invitation to view that album to
friends or family. When albums are set to
Public, anyone who knows your unique
Qurio Web address (which is set up as
http:// your user name.quriophotos.com)
can access your pictures.
The April release of Qurio lets you
password protect your albums. Qurio's
customer support says, "You will still
be able to have public galleries for im-
ages that you want to share with
everyone. But, if you have children and
only want their pictures accessible to
friends and family, then you can set a
password for the album." By only giving
the password to the people you are
comfortable sharing these photos with,
you can feel confident that your pic-
tures are in safe hands.
Another way to share your photos is
to list your photo site on the Qurio
Photo Gallery so that everyone who
visits Qurio's Web site will have the
opportunity to view your photos by
clicking the Photo Gallery link on the
Qurio has unique and convenient fea-
tures which let you share your photos
with friends and family. It also elimi-
nates the hassle of digging through
your negatives, finding the one from
last week's get together that your
friend has been bugging you for, and
giving her the negative so she can make
a print copy of the picture. «53
by Jennifer Johnson
©Back - ^ %\ £ ^ pSarc
te, ^Media |$ 0.Q m-UfBi
■*| $) Search Web ■
d JH Options
Contact Customer Service Site
I Product | Photo Gallery I Buy Photos & Gifts I Learning
Qurio Photo Store
Qurio turns your pictures into beautiful photo gifts.
DOWNLOAD NOW ,
Qurio lets you create a variety of unique gifts from your photos.
Qurio offers a variety of photo
gifts, including the Mini
Photo Book, which you create on
your computer using Qurio's soft-
ware. You can view and share the
Mini Photo Book with friends and
family online, and you can order
print copies of the book. The
double-sided, 20-page, soft-cover
book lets you add up to 96 pic-
tures, albeit fairly small pictures;
the book is only 5 inches high x 5
Creating a Mini Photo Book is
a fairly straightforward process.
You can customize it with back-
ground colors and effects, page
captions, and different layouts.
Adding clip art, text, or picture ef-
fects; resizing and moving pictures;
and zooming in and out of pic-
tures are also options.
Qurio uses the concept of peer-
to-peer technology. This is
similar to the way in which a pow-
erful server provides content to
someone browsing the Internet.
Because today's PCs are more pow-
erful than they were in the past,
home PCs can perform small tasks
that used to require a server, in-
cluding sharing music or photos
over the Internet. Qurio takes ad-
vantage of this by giving your PC
the power to share photos from your
PC by setting up a peer-to-peer con-
nection between your computer and
your friend's computer.
60 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
THE BLUETOOTH ENABLED CORDLESS
Home phone meets cell phone— together
at last. With Uniden's new Bluetooth
enabled Digital 5.8 GHz Cordless Phone,
now you can use your land line for
crystal-clear communications anywhere
in the house, or tap into your cell phone
minutes to take advantage of free long
distance? The Digital 5.8GHz Cordless
THE PERFECT BALANCE OF DESIGN
aLso features slim styling and all the
features you love, like a full-coLor
LCD dispLay, recordable ring tones,
UP TO 10 HANDSETS, ONE PHONE JACK
downloadable background pictures,
handset-to-handset text messaging and
an optional wireless Bluetooth headset.
All models also come standard with up
to 1 handset capability from |
a single base unit, advanced
phonebook features, caller I D,
handset speakerphone A
h h i i * Th ©Bluetooth'
and a whole lot more.This HEADSET
advanced cordless is even READY
backward compatible with other Uniden
Digital 5.8 GHz expandable phones. Now
you can get the best of both worlds.
Visit us at www.uniden.com.
A World Without Wires
one and depends on your personal cellul
?d by Bluetooth SIG. Inc. © Bluetooth Sl(
2005. ©2005. Uniden Air
(5et The Shot . . .
Schneider Optics .65X
Get the whole picture
with this high-end lens
Schneider Optics Circular
Rid yourself of
glare with this
Perfect for amateurs
and enthusiasts alike
Strong and lightweight
but heavy on the budget
Total Price: $3,79636
Show off your photos with this nifty
photo reader; the viewer works
with your PC and TV
Epson Stylus Photo K&OO
Photo perfection in a box
For all of the times you
need to charge on the go
Have the power you need
for those unexpected
Lowe pro Stealth f^
Reporter 500 AW
Carry all of your camera
equipment and more
with this fancy bag
SanDisk Extreme III
Its speed size, and
ruggedness make it the
Kit Model CMK-1
Clean every nook and cranny
of your digital camera
Adobe Photoshop CS
Crammed with features to help you
make your photos
62 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Want a quality digital camera setup but don't have
a professionals budget? We'll show you how you
can have it all without breaking the bank.
Total Price: $750.17
Kodak Retinar 37mm
Enlarge your view
•You'll need che KODAK
DX7440 Lens Adapcer co use
37mm lenses and Fticers, Cose: $19.95
Tons of features but not tons of money
Kodak Li-Ion Rapid
Charge your battery
in a flash
**Qne sec of rechargeable batteries
with charger is included with the Kodak DX7440
CaseLogic Digital Photo
I lold your camera and
plenty of accessories
37MM Circular PRQMASTER
Polarizing Filter #1701*
for your camera
Transfer your pictures to your PC
in a jiffy with the one-step
"You'll need the KODAK
DX7440 Lens Adapcer co use
37mm lenses and filcers. Cose: $19.95
***This is not MSRP but
an average of prices from eight retail Web sices.
Glottoe VT 901
inexpensive: good for
the back and
Canon PIXMA IP3000
Good-looking and affordable
prints at home
Kodak High-Capacity Li-Ion
Battery (1050 mAh)**
Don't throw money away with
Kingston SD/512 512MB
A must- have to get
all of those pictures
**One sec of rechargeable bacceries
with charger is included wich the Kodak DX7440
A handy gadget
for cleaning your camera
Adobe Photoshop Elements 3,0
Enhance your photos
Compiled by Jennifer Johnson
CE Lifestyles / May 2005 63
"When paired with a suitably high-end A/V receiver, the RBH
CT-MAX will rock your home theater to its foundations/*
- Steve Guttenberg, c\net.com
In either stereo or multichannel modes, the RBH excelled at
producing a cleanly defined soundstage, with imaging uncluttered
by any hint of a box or multiple drivers. . .The result is that the
Compact Theater convincingly disappears as a sound source.
-Neil Gader, The Perfect Vision Magazi" -
\ With its die-cast aluminum construction and aluminum
\ woofers, the RBH CT-MAX delivers "foundation rocking"
performance, yet won t rock your budget to its foundations.
RBH s Compact Theater systems offer the unparalleled
value and incomparable attention to detail which have
come to be expected from RBH.
The CT-Max is also available with the MS- 10.1,
featuring dual 10-inch active woofers, RBHs TAV™
technology and a 250-Watt RMS built in amplifier.
Redefining the way
you experience sound.™
RBH Sound • Layton, Utah • USA • (800) 543-2205 • www.rbhsound.com
One Problem, Three Solutions: Zoom & Crop
by Brian Hodge
n our second installment of Know How, we'll look at
two of the most basic tools in our photo editors.
When you use zoom, you enlarge a photo in your
workspace. You may need to get a closer look at
small details, and many photo fixes (such as scratch
repair) are easier to perform at high zoom levels.
When you crop a photo, you cut away part of the
original image to improve the composition of the portion
you're leaving behind. Removing background clutter and other
distractions can help clarify the focus on your subject.
In our illustrations, we'll be zooming in on and cropping a
photo of a stone sundial to create a more interesting close-up
of just one area.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0
With your photo opened in the
workspace, select the Zoom Tool
from at or near the top of the
toolbar on the left. The Zoom
Tool (as well as the Crop Tool) is
available in both the Quick Fix
and Standard Edit views. There
are several ways to zoom:
(A) Select a Zoom button with
the plus (+) or minus signs (-) and
click the photo to enlarge or
shrink it; (B) Use the Zoom
Percentage box. Type a per-
centage and press ENTER, or
click the box's blue arrow and
drag the slider to set the view up
to 1,600%. For finer control, use
your arrow keys.
If you need to enlarge your work-
space, click the buttons in the
lower-left and -right corners to
close the Photo Bin (possible in
both views) and Palette Bin (pos-
sible in Standard Edit view only).
|lSy^ | Zoom: | 21% > |
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Crop Tool 5 in
Crop Tool 8 in x 10 in Crop Tool J in :.: 5 in
For cropping, select the Crop
Tool from the toolbar.
Again, the Options bar provides
multiple methods. To crop free-
hand, click and drag the photo to
select the area you want to keep
and then press ENTER.
Select a size from the Preset menu or
type values in the Width and Height
boxes. This doesn't work quite as you
may expect. As you click and drag the
selection marquee over the photo, the
program constrains your selection area
to a fixed proportion. When you then
press ENTER, it resamples the image
to fit into the selected dimensions.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 65
Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9
Select the Pan/Zoom Tool from
the top left of the toolbar. Even
on the Pan setting, the Tool
Options Palette displays the var-
ious Zoom methods. Use the
method you prefer.
(A) For control up to 5,000%,
click the arrows in the Zoom
Percentage box, type a numerical
setting, or drag the slider; (B)
Click Zoom In/Out for 5% to
10% increments or Zoom More
for larger jumps; and (C) Select
the Zoom Tool from the Toolbar
and click the photo to zoom in or
right-click to zoom out.
Select the Crop Tool
from the Toolbar.
To crop freehand, click and drag
the photo and then click the
Apply button on the Tool
X Presets; Zoom(%): Zoom out .i . - Actual size:
: : ^\ z°°m z 1
File Edit View Image Effects
Adjust Layers Objects
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10 x 15 cm ho
10 x 15 cm vertical
13 x 18 crnh
13 x 18 cm vertical
20 x 30 cm h
20 x 30 cm vertical
3.5 x 5 in horizontal
3.5 x 5 in vertical
4 x 6 in vertical
5 x 7 in horizontal
5 x 7 in vertical
8 x 10 in horizontal
8x 10 in vertical
To crop to fixed dimen-
sions, click the Presets
button to open the drop-
down menu and select a
size, which creates a selec-
tion box on the photo.
■esets: Width: Height
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Click anywhere inside the
box to drag it wherever
you wish and then click
the Apply button.
You can also drag the selection
box's handles to proportion-
ately adjust the selection area.
When you click the Apply
button, Paint Shop Pro re-
samples the selection to fit the
66 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Microsoft Digital Image Pro 1
Zoom controls are at the right
end of the Workspace Toolbar.
Drag the slider to set the view
percentage up to 2,000%, click
the plus/minus buttons, type a
value, and press ENTER. On the
percentage box's right, the four-
way arrow button snaps the pic-
ture to a full-shot view, regardless
of how far you've zoomed.
The Zoom To Selection button
lets you target a specific area.
Choose the Marquee Tool from
the Workspace Toolbar, click
and drag the photo to make
your selection, and click the
Zoom To Selection button.
Select the Crop Tool
from the main Toolbar.
§tlk a . /■ y|
10 x 8
8 x 10
3.5 x 5
2.5 X 3.5)
5 x 3.5
3.5 ■< 2.5)
PC or TV (4 : 3)
'G (3 : 4)
Srnartphone (1 : 1.25)
en (16 : 9)
In the Task Pane, under Step
1, you'll see a drop-down
menu. It defaults to Custom,
which lets you choose any di-
mensions you want.
You can also open the menu to
choose a proportion preset.
Notice, however, that these are
proportions only, not fixed sizes
in inches, etc. (If you need a spe-
cific size, after you complete the
crop, choose Resize Image from
the Format Menu.)
Click and drag to make
the selection area. Click
the Done button.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 67
Use Flash & Shade
Explore The Manual
For backlit pictures, the Flash and Shade set-
tings work well. They add reds and yellows sim-
ilar to Cloudy but will imbue the picture with
more of those colors than Cloudy. In a backlit
setting, the subject, not directly exposed to
light, will be tinted blue. Shade and Flash add
more red to the subject, which eliminates the
cold blue. With a flash (not the white balance
Flash setting), color and detail can wash out,
but Shade and Flash help maintain the natural
qualities of the picture.
Take Advantage Of
The Auto Mode
As the name implies, Auto mode makes taking
properly colored pictures automatic. Without
having to manually adjust settings, the camera
automatically alters colors to equalize light-
ing effects. You won't get the best hues or the
sharpest colors, but you also won't get pic-
tures with a completely wrong tint. For a
picture in which color isn't crucial to the
composition, Auto mode is probably your
best and safest bet. It also serves nicely for
taking a picture that spans multiple types
and quantities of lighting.
Instead of setting white as the neutral color,
try setting blue or green or any other color as
neutral. The camera, attempting to balance
the light, will shade all of the pictures in the
opposite color of what you have labeled as
neutral. If you set green as neutral, the pictures
will be tinted red, blue becomes orange, and
yellow becomes purple. This lets you create
some very stylized and surreal photographs.
In Manual, you take control of the camera's
color spectrum. By telling your camera what
you perceive as white, it will adjust all other
colors to match your perception. Using this fea-
ture, you can capture a photo exactly as you see
it, no matter the lighting. Sometimes, this can
be faster than using a preset option, as you
don't have to pick and choose. You know if you
set it manually the colors are as true as possi-
ble. As soon as you change settings, reset your
camera for the new lighting condition. Your eye
will adjust to make the colors stay the same
wherever you are, but your camera will not. It
helps to carry around a white card to make sure
you always have a way to balance your camera
in any lighting context.
Use The Cloudy
On interior shots or noncloudy days, use the
Cloudy setting. On a cloudy day, there is no di-
rect source of light. Instead of the yellowish-red-
dish light of a candle, an interior light, or the sun,
the light, and consequently your picture, will
have blue qualities. To offset this, the Cloudy
setting inserts slight reds and yellows to create a
more balanced look. When you use this feature
in atmospheres other than cloudy or overcast
days, environments will look warmer and cheeks
will look rosier. This is also effective at giving pic-
tures a tinge of that aged yellow look.
by Paul Rogers
68 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Backup Flash Cards,
Burn ens a Plan bvbs
The Kanguru Slim FC-RW is the ultimate
multimedia device! Use it to back-up Flash
Cards directly to a CD without a computer!
Simply insert a card and a blank CD and press
copy, it's that easy! You can even backup cards
over 1GB to more than one CD if you need to!
The Kanguru Slim FC-RW can also be con-
nected directly to a TV for viewing slideshows or
playing DVDs. Or use it as an external CD-RW,
a CD/MP3 Player, or an 8 in 1 Card Reader.
A rechargeable battery makes it perfect for
portable use, plus it comes with a remote control
for DVD Playback and picture viewing!
PC Connection I
iRobot's Roomba Discovery Wants To
Catch Your Dirt
70 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
ost of us, when we were little, firmly believed that eventually robots
would clean up after us, freeing us from endless dirty dishes and bags
of smelly trash. And then what happened? You grew up and got a place of
your own to clean, and now that the future is here, you can't help feeling a
little . . . cheated.
When iRobot introduced the Roomba in 2002, the general consensus was that
it was a great idea but still something of a novelty item. Now in their second
generation, Roombas have had several refinements, so it's time to put the
higher-end Roomba Discovery to the test.
The Roomba & Its Accessories
The Roomba looks like a beefed-up Frisbee. It's 13 inches wide and 3.25 inches tall (when settled
on its flexible wheels) with a curved row of four control buttons the size of quarters.
Setup is simple: Flip it over onto its back and snap in the yellow, brick-like nickel-metal hydride
battery pack. Flip it upright again, and it's ready for charging. You can do this one of two ways:
Plug the charger cable directly into the vacuum's socket or plug the cable into the Home Base
and let the Roomba charge through its pair of contact points.
Although it isn't essential for use, the Home Base can act as the Roomba's docking station. As
long as they're in the same vicinity, the Roomba can usually lock onto the Home Base's in-
frared signal and find its way back to the Home Base when it's finished working or if it needs
to recharge in the middle of a big job (or "mission," in Roomba-speak). It takes about three
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 71
hours to go from dead to fully charged,
which will give you up to two hours of
If you don't want to use the Home Base,
you can use the included wall mount to
store your unit. A replacement filter, a
remote control, and two Virtual Walls
also come standard.
Virtual Walls are clever little devices
that run on two D batteries and emit
an IR (infrared) beam that bars the
Roomba's way. If you want to block a
wide hallway, for instance, place a
Virtual Wall on one side of the opening,
aim it across, set the range (0 to 3 feet,
4 to 7 feet, or 8-plus feet), and turn
it on. If you forget to turn it off, no
problem. It runs on a two-and-a-half-
The Dirty Work
To put the Roomba to work, set it in
the middle of the room's largest area of
open floor space, press the Power
button, and then press the Clean
button. After a triumphant fanfare of
electronic beeps, the unit spirals out-
ward. Once it encounters an obstacle,
such as furniture, it starts finding its
way around the room in what looks
like a random cleaning pattern, but it
isn't. The Roomba's navigation meth-
ods are derived from minesweeping
technology that iRobot developed
for the U.S. government. When the
Roomba calculates it has cleaned the
area (it's likely that it will have covered
most of the floor more than once),
it automatically stops or returns to
The process certainly takes longer than
it would if you were using an upright or
canister vacuum . . . but then, those re-
quire constant attention and effort and
precious time out of your day.
The Roomba has two other options in
addition to the basic Clean mode. Press
the Spot button, and the unit vacuums
an area with a 3-foot diameter, spiraling
first outward and then back inward.
The Max button sends the Roomba on
the ultimate mission: cleaning for two
hours (or until its battery depletes), re-
gardless of how many times it may
cover the room.
Surface recommendations. The Room-
ba needs a reasonably level floor sur-
face; however, if you can handle it
with an upright or canister vacuum, it
shouldn't pose any problems for the
Roomba. The one exception is deep-
pile carpet. iRobot doesn't recom-
mend using the unit on deep-pile,
and our tests bear that out. Also, the
Roomba automatically adjusts how it
cleans when it moves from bare floors
of wood, linoleum, and tile to low- and
medium-pile carpets and their area-
To intelligently approach its tasks, the
Roomba uses three types of sensors.
Bump sensors. Watch the Roomba in
action, and you'll notice it's rather ag-
gressive and even seems inquisitive at
times. Rimming almost the front half of
the unit is a crescent-moon-shaped
bumper that flexes inward and won't
scuff what it hits.
Bumping into objects or furniture is
how the Roomba learns about its
surroundings. It gathers information
about its environment at a rate of 67
times per second. The bump sensors, as
well as calculations the unit makes as it
travels, help it map where in a room it's
72 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Tips & Precautions
Because the Roomba isn't like upright or canister models, you need
to approach cleaning with a Roomba differently than you would
with your normal vacuum.
When most people need to vacuum, they tend to pick up
clutter and move items as they go. You need to do this before
you set the Roomba on its mission to provide the Roomba ac-
cess to the largest amount of floor space as possible. You'll also
need to pick up such loose items as socks, which can hang up
underneath the unit and stop its mission.
Monitor the Roomba's progress the first time you use it in a room
and be on the lookout for trouble spots. It may be just low enough
to get wedged under a kitchen counter overhang, cross braces be-
neath an end table, or another low-resting piece of furniture.
Look for potential traps, too. We watched the unit scoot under a cabinet
and then lock into a repeating pattern without ever extracting itself. Once
you're aware of trouble spots, you can block access to them next time.
The Roomba requires more frequent maintenance than a regular vacuum. Its bin isn't nearly the size of a vacuum
bag, so empty it after every two or three missions, and empty it more if the Roomba has to clean a higher than
normal amount of messes.
The Roomba's manual recommends cleaning its brushes after every 10 missions. If you have a pet that sheds a
lot, we recommend cleaning it more often. The brushes can pick up a great deal of hair in a hurry.
been, where there are obstacles, and
where it still needs to go.
If the unit relied on noncontact mapping
methods, such as optical sensors, it would
stop at such nonobstacles as dust ruffles
and wouldn't travel underneath beds.
Dirt sensors. Located in the dirt path,
over the beater brushes, is a pair of sonic
sensors that "listen" to the cleaning
process. They're sensitive to sound
waves and can hear concentrations of
particles as small as ground pepper.
When these sensors identify a flurry of
grit, the Roomba goes into Dirt Detect
mode (the blue Dirt Detect light comes
on) and cleans the immediate area with
Cliff sensors. Mounted under the front
edge, these are optical sensors that
prevent the Roomba from taking a fatal
tumble down a flight of stairs. However,
be cautious when using the Roomba
near stairs with rounded edges, on slip-
pery surfaces, or on light-colored floors,
as these sensors may be slightly less ef-
fective in these situations.
Because of its rounded shape, the
Roomba has no snout to poke into cor-
ners. You have to rely on its whisk
brush to pull in as much dirt as it can
reach in a corner, and this brush may
not catch everything. It doesn't clean
stairways, and with no socket for a
hose and attachments, you can't use it
on furniture, upholstery, blinds, or any
other higher-elevation use that a con-
ventional vacuum can handle.
But as an automated unit that will han-
dle general cleaning for nearly all of your
floor space, the Roomba does what it
promises. We were impressed by how
much it dredged up from floors, carpets,
and rugs that looked clean to the eye. If
you invest enough time to learn its ten-
dencies and quirks, you can save your-
self hours of vacuuming time and effort
in the long run. 313
by Brian Hodge
CE Lifestyles / May 2005 73
The Roomba Torture Test
To see how the Roomba Discovery would perform
under different circumstances, we turned it loose on
a variety of messes that we re-created on various
For our messes, we used eight dry substances. For
consistency from one surface to the next, we mea-
sured out a roughly equal portion.
For our surfaces, we used bare floor and low- and
medium-pile carpets. The carpets we used were
sample sections, so we could shake them out to see
what, if anything, had been left in the nap. We alter-
nated between the Roomba's Spot mode and using
the remote control to drive the unit over the mess.
Even though iRobot discourages using the Roomba
on deep-pile carpet, we were prepared to give it a
whirl but quickly discovered why it's not recom-
mended. The Roomba simply couldn't move
through the carpet. Imagine a dachshund in a foot of
mud, and you should get the picture.
Sent quite a bit skittering away,
creating a wider mess.
Clean, thorough pickup.
O Medium-Pile Carpet
^ Decent pickup, but grounds
^ started to work down into
Q the nap.
Dreadful. It sucked up quite a bit but
created an ever-worsening pattern of
tire tracks that required a mop to
clean. Worse, flour kept sifting out of
the Roomba and, in general, made
such an unholy mess that we aban-
doned further flour tests.
| Low-Pile Carpet
3 Medium-Pile Carpet
Missed almost all. Airflow kept
blowing tufts away.
Quick, thorough pickup.
Quick, thorough pickup.
Kicked several pieces away, but
easy to chase them down with
remote control. Complete suc-
cess apparent until we realized
that the unit had corralled most
of the pieces underneath instead
of sucking them up.
74 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Several grains skittered away, but
easy to get everything using remote.
Got most; some grains remained
after several back-and-forth passes.
Good surface job, but on shakeout
we discovered lots of grit left behind.
Lots of shooting rice. Oddly, seemed
to jolt Roomba out of Spot mode,
and it started roving.
Rice still wanted to skitter away but
not nearly as badly. Got it all.
Rice and Roomba started to
cooperate. Got every grain;
no escape attempts.
Airflow kicked it around
substantially, requiring extensive
remote chase down.
Reasonably thorough pickup.
Passable job; still fine bits
and dust left.
Airflow kicked pieces around
substantially, requiring exten-
sive remote chase down.
^% ^% ' ^r^f
The Roomba Torture Test:
Based on the results of our
tests, the substances that the
Roomba vacuumed up were,
from easiest to hardest:
1. Shredded Paper
2. Pet Hair
6. Dry Coffee Grounds
Of course, there's much more
to it than a simple ranking.
Items two through six could be
shuffled into nearly any order
because the Roomba reacted
similarly to all of them. They
were reasonably easy to clean
on low- and medium-pile car-
pets, but the Roomba's airflow
had a tendency to blow very
fine or lightweight substances
across a bare floor. We also
used fairly heavy concentra-
tions of our grittier sub-
stances — worse than you'd
likely find in one spot on
a household floor under av-
The Roomba Torture Test:
Based on the results of our
testing, the floor surfaces that
the Roomba cleaned were,
from easiest to hardest:
1. Low-Pile Carpet
2. Medium-Pile Carpet
3. Bare Floor
4. Deep-Pile Carpet
(not recommended by iRobot)
As with the Substance
Summary, this is a general
ranking, and some substance
and surface combinations
are exceptions to this list. For
example, rice was easier to
pick up on medium-pile
carpet than low-pile, and the
Roomba picked up sand on a
bare floor more thoroughly
than it did on carpet.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 75
76 May 2005 / celifestyles.
Living Smart At
A New California Community
ust 40 years after "The Jetsons"
first invited us into a futuristic
community where talking
robomaids and flying cars were
the norm, a planned commu-
nity in southern California was
born that is not so far off from
the animated world Hanna-
Located on the west side of
Los Angeles, the new town,
Playa Vista, welcomed its first resi-
dents in the fall of 2003. The project,
which is still under development, is cur-
rently home to roughly 2,500 people,
with plans for a total residential popula-
tion of 10,000 when the project is fin-
ished in 2010 (about 50 years ahead of
the Jetsons' imagined life in 2062).
Playa Vista's planners are experimenting
with a whole new model for urban living,
a model that prioritizes technology and
convenience. While residents do not yet
have their own versions of Rosie, the
Jetsons' humanlike robot maid, they can
opt to have appliances and technology
upgrades installed that do everything
from press their clothes to cook their
dinners while they're away from home.
And while flying cars aren't on the
horizon just yet, quiet, open-air, zero-
emission EVs (electric vehicles), which are
just slightly larger than golf carts, are
commonly seen cruising along the Playa
Vista streets. They are used exclusively by
the Playa Vista maintenance staff, and
residents can finance them along with
their home loans and then receive pre-
ferred parking privileges. Because 90% of
the parking at Playa Vista is under-
ground, cars mostly remain out of sight
in this pedestrian-friendly community.
Despite being only two years old, Playa
Vista already has a long and compli-
cated history. First envisioned in 1978,
the development, which is housed on
the former site of the famed actor/in-
dustrialist/recluse Howard Hughes' avia-
tion business, was originally conceived
as a city within a city. The designs called
for modern high-rise office buildings ac-
companied by roughly 7,000 housing
units. Plans for several hundred new
boat slips at neighboring Marina del Rey
were included, as well as 72 protected
acres for a nature preserve.
It took six years for the CCC (California
Coastal Commission) to approve the
project, and by then, the plans had ex-
panded to include nearly 9,000 homes,
840 boat slips, and a protected, 175-acre
marshland in the Ballona Wetlands.
Court battles related to environmental
concerns and other issues raised by
neighboring communities bogged
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 77
down the development for more than a
decade after the CCC green-lighted
Playa Vista in 1984.
In 1997, nearly 20 years after attempts
to found Playa Vista began, the original
developer succumbed to the financial
pressures of litigation and other delays
and defaulted on payments to most of
its lenders, thereby losing its stake in
the future of the property. A group, in-
cluding investment bankers and a
union pension fund, purchased the
property and proceeded with the cur-
rent plans for development, which pri-
oritize public spaces, maximize private
spaces, and forbid any building from
standing more than four stories high.
Playa Vista's president Steve Soboroff
describes his town as "a model for
urban living, bringing together the best
of the Westside: dream homes near the
beach, cutting-edge technology, and
neighborhood charm — all close to
where people work."
A Strong Backbone
The key to the "cutting-edge technology"
Soboroff refers to begins with the pow-
erful wired backbone built in to every
home. Fifteen developers are building
properties at Playa Vista, and each one is
required to fulfill technical specifications
that leave the homes ready for just about
anything. Every room in every home has
at least one universal outlet which pro-
vides voice and data and two video lines.
On move-in day, residents can essentially
flip a switch — or plug in their TVs, com-
puters, or other devices — and receive
high-speed Internet access, digital cable,
and TiVo in every room without running
cables, drilling holes, calling tech support,
or relying on old, faulty wiring to dial up.
A wireless router is also standard, so resi-
dents with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can get
online from anywhere, immediately, from
day one. The initial cost of the wiring is
minimal compared to what it would cost
to upgrade the wiring later, and the ex-
pense is simply rolled into the purchase
price of the property. The monthly fees
for services such as cable Internet access
are included in the monthly master asso-
ciation dues paid by every household. So,
on top of easy access and a discounted
rate, residents never have to see another
bill from their cable company or ISP
again. Derek Fraychineaud, director of
construction management at Playa Vista,
says the master association dues are $190
per month and include unlimited use of
the public amenities such as the health
and fitness center, three swimming pools,
meeting rooms, 30 parks, game rooms,
use of a copier, and a private Dolby THX
theater, among other things.
Fraychineaud says, "Because we have
this backbone, it opens the door to dif-
ferent technologies, such as lighting
control, home automation, and smart
appliances. All of this cool stuff means
that when you move into your home,
your home is fully networked."
Residents can use the network for simple
things, such as printer and file sharing, or
for more high-end tasks, such as total
"You have the option and the ability to
control all of the functions in your home
using the home network, from the
audio/video entertainment system to the
climate controls," says Fraychineaud.
"You can do nanny cams, monitor your
security system — turn it on, turn it off,
see who's at your front door — even while
you're at work. If you were to purchase
smart appliances or Internet-enabled ap-
pliances, you could use them right out of
the box, as well."
Your Own Tech Guru
Each resident can choose how much or
how little to use her high-tech home's ca-
pabilities. And to help her make choices
and get set up, Playa Vista has contracted
with CompUSA to offer a service it calls
Technology Concierge. Every resident of
Playa Vista can call the Technology
Concierge for help and advice with any-
thing technology-related at no charge.
Need help setting up your wireless net-
work? No problem. The Technology
Concierge will come do it for you. Tired
of pulling the string on your floor-to-
ceiling windows blinds? No problem. The
technology concierge will help you select
and install automatic blinds, which you
can operate remotely.
Trouble In Paradise
hile residents at Playa Vista seem delighted with their community-
in-progress — and 36,000 people remain on the waiting list — the
long and hard-fought battle against Playa Vista is still going strong.
Environmentalists, Native Americans, and residents of neighboring
communities have banded together to fight against construction that
they fear will result in a myriad of problems ranging from traffic grid-
lock and overtaxed sewers to desecration of sacred burial grounds. In
more than two decades of lawsuits, opponents have taken on both the
project's original developer — who was bankrupted by the process — and
its current group of developers.
One of the largest bones of contention has been the protection of the
1,087-acre Ballona Wetlands ecosystem. The original plan called for
just 75 protected acres, but two years ago, the state of California ap-
proved a plan to purchase roughly 200 acres of the property, and in re-
turn, Playa Vista's developers agreed to give up the right to build on an
additional 415 acres. That area will now be restored and preserved as
the Ballona Wetlands.
Playa Vista's planners have also agreed to offer unfettered access to
Playa Vista's public spaces. Approximately $40 million has been set aside
by developers for planning and building parks that will be open to
everyone, not just residents of Playa Vista.
Despite the many concessions — shorter buildings, preserved wetlands, 30
public parks, recycled construction materials, $100 million earmarked for
"transportation improvements," an emphasis on reducing car emissions (by
encouraging the use of foot traffic, bicycles, and EVs, and by providing an
electric tram to public transportation) — the fight to stop Phase II of Playa
Vista's growth is now under way.
Last year, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve the next
phase, dubbed "The Village." But in November, The City of Santa
Monica, along with Surfrider Foundation (a nonprofit group that focuses
on protecting oceans and beaches), representatives of the Tongva/
Gabrieleno Native Americans, and the nonprofit Ballona Wetlands Land
Trust, filed papers in Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging the
City of Los Angeles' decision.
The lawsuit seeks to prove that the plan was approved without prepara-
tion of an adequate EIR (Environmental Impact Report), that it calls for the
unethical and unnecessary removal of close to 400 burials from a sacred
Native American burial ground, that it will result in a tremendous increase
in traffic, that shallow subsurface methane gas exists under the property in
concentrations that dramatically exceed the lower explosive limit of such
gases, and that large volumes of wastewater generated by the project will
overtax existing waste treatment facilities.
Both sides in the battle over Playa Vista's future seem equally deter-
mined to prevail, so it may take many more years to reach a final resolu-
tion of the key disputes.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 79
It . <* ~*
Because of the shortage of new housing
in the Los Angeles area, and because of
Playa Vista's excellent location and
amenities, demand for units far outstrips
availability. Currently, more than 36,000
people are on the waiting list for Playa
Vista properties, which haven't even
been built yet.
Stephanie Goddard, a 32-year-old public
relations executive and mother of 2-
year-old Ryan, was among the first resi-
dents of Playa Vista. She and her
husband were on the waiting list for two
years and then participated in multiple
300-person lotteries in a park in Playa
Vista before they finally had the chance
to purchase their condominium.
Goddard and her family have been living
at Playa Vista for just over a year now
and feel delighted with their choice.
"The biggest daily perk," says Goddard,
"is that we are all wireless in our home.
We have a desktop, but then my hus-
band and I also have laptops, so we can
go anywhere in our condo and link up.
On the days I work from home, I can sit
on the couch, in bed, or on the patio
and still be fully connected."
Goddard employed the Technology
Concierge to get her home network up
and running. "They had somebody
come out and talk to us about what we
were looking to do, what our require-
ments were, and then they got us set
up. We incorporated a fax as a separate
line, got our wireless access hooked up
with the right software — we basically
had one person come in, and that
person organized the others to come
and set things up. It wasn't very diffi-
cult and there was no extra fee."
Goddard hasn't taken advantage of the
extreme gadgets her home could sup-
port, such as Internet-enabled refrigera-
tors (which run from $7,000 to $15,000)
or the Polara refrigerated range from
Whirlpool ($1,499; www.whirlpool.com),
which can keep a dish cold and then cook
it, keep it warm, and re-refrigerate it, de-
pending on the instructions it's fed re-
motely via a cell phone, PC, or PDA.
Fraychineaud says some residents at
Playa Vista are spending up to $70,000
on technology upgrades when they
move in. Most residents spend that
money on home entertainment systems.
No More Dinner Bells
Angela Glover, a 47-year-old entrepre-
neur, moved into a 3,000-square-foot
penthouse property in Playa Vista
last year with her husband and her
mother. She spent roughly $30,000 on
technological amenities ranging from
surround sound to a paging and in-
"Now I don't have to yell up to my
mother when dinner is ready," she says.
Glover's condo, which she bought for
about $900,000, has already doubled in
value. On her technology wish list is a
security add-on featured called The
Icebox, with which she could monitor
the exterior of her property via live
video feeds sent directly from security
cameras to her kitchen.
80 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
"It hooks up to your fridge/' says
Glover. "It's like a little TV, and then
there are cameras mounted on the out-
side of the unit and a mini plasma TV
under the counter, so we can monitor
everything from inside." She plans to
purchase the system next year.
For manufacturers of smart-living appli-
ances, Playa Vista's approach to high-
tech living is a rare recipe for success.
The three major obstacles facing the
makers of smart-living devices marketed
to the general public are insufficient
wiring, cost, and an attitude among
consumers of skepticism or confusion
about the viability of such devices.
Steve Duthie, media relations manager
for Whirlpool, says his company has
participated in some pilot projects in
cooperation with the Internet Home
Alliance, a nonprofit cross-industry net-
work of Fortune 200 companies, which
conducts research about emerging
home technology markets.
"We're trying to determine whether or
not there's any utility to them and
whether people will pay for them," says
Duthie. "So far, they look cool and act
cool, but no one is clamoring for them."
Duthie sees the primary hurdle con-
sumers face when considering a product
such as Whirlpool's Polara refrigerated
range or its Personal Valet unit ($1,199),
which presses and freshens garments
and comes standard in some Playa Vista
homes, as more a conceptual rather
than a financial issue.
"In order to sell a consumer on a com-
pletely new idea, you have to break
through a mindset. An appliance like
the Polara, it's something that people
can't conjure up an image of. And they
think to themselves, 'Well, I'm not sure
I'd feel comfortable leaving the home
with a meal cooking in the oven.' But
our testers absolutely loved them.
They didn't want us to take them
away," says Duthie.
Unlike your average consumer, who
may balk at the idea of taking the leap
toward unusual and pricey appliances
that make big, hard-to-believe promises,
the residents of Playa Vista are well-pre-
pared to imagine such things. They are
walked through the selection and setup
process by their Technology Concierge
and live in homes that can handle the
newest creations any appliance manu-
facturer can throw at them. This elimi-
nates the two biggest obstacles vendors
face in making sales — skepticism and
outdated wiring — which makes Playa
Vistans an excellent market for compa-
nies who want to find early adopters for
The extent to which smart appliances
and high-tech amenities are available to
Playa Vista residents in their homes is, at
the moment, only limited by their bud-
gets. And plans are in the works to add
more technological conveniences in
common areas, as well.
Playa Vista has put an emphasis on cre-
ating an old-fashioned feeling of com-
munity in new-fashioned ways. In
addition to building parks, pools, a li-
brary, and a community center, there
are plans to create Wi-Fi hotspots in all
of the town's public parks, a move
which is designed to get more people
out of doors, so they can interact with
Goddard is eager for the park-based Wi-
Fi to be deployed.
A Day In The Park
"I'm really excited," she says, "because as
the development grows, I could sit in
the park with my son and check my
email. That's part of the future vision;
we're the first phase of Playa Vista."
Also among new projects at Playa Vista,
is PlayaLink, a community Web site.
Kristin Ramsey, who left Coca-Cola to
become Playa Vista's vice president of
marketing, says, "PlayaLink is for resi-
dents only. It's a place where residents
can go and, via the message board, talk
to each other about everything from
the new park that's opening to a
Mommy and Me group. We also work
with partners outside of our community
and offer to them to come in and reach
this new group of consumers."
Over the next five years, Playa Vista will
continue to grow and expand, adding
several thousand housing units, retail
spaces, a fire station, and a new campus
for video game developer Electronic Arts.
While the three-hour-a-day, three-day-a-
week work week of George Jetson's world
does not seem to be on the horizon for
Playa Vista residents, the smart amenities
they enjoy at home and in the commu-
nity growing up around them seem to
more than make up for it. S=]
by Naomi Graychase
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 81
Quietly Setting A Whole New Standard.
Experience the unmatched combination of noise reduction and audio performance
of our QuietComforf 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones.
Unwanted noise is everywhere. The engine roar inside an
airplane cabin. The blaring sounds of city
streets. The annoying din of the office.
Bose® QuietComfort® 2 Acoustic
Noise Cancelling headphones help
you hush them all. Put them on
and slip into a safe haven -
where you can relax and enjoy i
peace and solitude or listen to
your favorite music.
Proven Noise Reduction
Our original noise-reducing head-
phones were designed primarily for
airplane travelers. But owners soon started telling
us how much they enjoyed using them in other places.
So we designed our QuietComfort® 2 headphones around the
same patented technology that electronically identifies and dra-
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movie dialogue or tranquility you desire. The Philadelphia Daily
News says that "Even in the noisiest environment, wearing
these phones creates a calming, quiet zone for easy listening or
Our Best Sound Ever.
QuietComfort® 2 headphones deliver the best audio
performance we've ever developed for headphones. Highs are
impressively crisp and clean. Lows are deep and enveloping.
Vocals are reproduced with lifelike authenticity. When
audio critic Wayne Thompson heard our QuietComfort® 2
headphones, he reported, "Bose engineers
have made major improvements/' Whether
you're looking for noise reduction or
high-performance headphones for music,
we think you'll
agree - QuietComfort® 2 head-
phones capture the essence of
serenity and sound.
Mail to: Bose Corporation, Dept DMG-Q3729, The Mountain, Framingham, MA 01701-916
Respected columnist Rich Warren says,
"The QuietComfort 2 lives up to its name,
enveloping you in blissful sound in the utmost comfort. It's easy to
forget they're on your head." To enjoy peace and tranquility, simply
turn them on. To add Bose quality sound, attach the included audio
cord and connect them to a home stereo, laptop computer, portable
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We don't expect you to take our word for how dramatically our
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To order or for a free information kit call:
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©2005 Bose Corporation. Patent rights issued and/or pending. Financing and free shipping offer not to be combined with other offers or applied to previous purchases, and subject to change without notice.
Risk free refers to 30-day trial only. Delivery is subject to product availability. Quotes are reprinted with permission: Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News, 5/29/03; Wayne Thompson, Oregonian, 4/18/03; Rich Warren, News-Gazette, 5/19/03.
Turn It Off
Change Your View
With both digital cameras and digital cam-
corders, the LCD screen consumes a huge
amount of energy. Many people prefer to use
the LCD to frame their shots, but shutting off
the LCD and using the old-fashioned viewfinder
instead can extend battery life. If your camera
won't let you turn off the LCD, dim the screen
until you can't see the picture anymore.
Use Your Sleep Timer
If you like to fall asleep watching a movie, set
your TV's sleep timer to shut your TV off after
the movie will end. If you know that no matter
how hard you try to stay awake, you fall asleep
10 minutes after going to bed, set your sleep
timer to turn your TV off 15 or 20 minutes after
you crawl into bed. You'll save power, and you'll
likely get a better night of sleep, as well.
Let Your Electronics
Tnk^ A Nnn
Your computer, especially your monitor, con-
sumes a lot of power. Put your monitor or com-
puter in hibernation mode to save energy.
Hibernation mode, which doesn't take more than
a few seconds to turn on, saves your data and
then turns your computer off. When you turn it
back on, the computer returns to what you were
working on instead of restarting. Set your com-
puter to hibernate after a few minutes of idle
time. If you prefer manual control, manually turn
your monitor off as soon as you're done.
When buying new equipment, look for elec-
tronics with the Energy Star label. Household
products with the Energy Star must meet strict
energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S.
Department of Energy and the Environmental
Protection Agency. These units often come
equipped with more efficient standby modes.
We also recommend choosing flat-screen
monitors and TVs over bulky CRTs (cathode-
ray tubes), printers that have duplex-printing
capabilities, and inkjet printers instead of la-
Just as we are careful to turn a light off when
leaving the room, we should consistently turn
off electronics when we are done using them.
After watching a DVD, don't just stop the disc
and leave the room to do something else. Get
up and turn the TV and DVD player off or at
least to standby mode. Shut off printers and
scanners when you finish using them. Save your
video games and shut off the console instead of
leaving the game on pause or in idle if you won't
play it again for a while. If you don't use your fax
machine often, turn the machine off until you
are expecting one.
by Paul Rogers
CE Lifestyles / May 2005 83
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Check us out at www.pny.com/cel
Let our memory capture your memories.™
First Glimpse Advertising Section
This special advertising section presents the latest consumer electronics products now coming on the market.
Browse through these First Glimpse pages to learn about new products before they appear on your local store shelves.
Philips Streamium Home Cinema System
Paradigm Compact Theater
Optoma MovieTime DV10
Escient Fireball DVDM-300
CAMERAS & CAMERA ACCESSORIES
Konica Minolta DiMage A200
AROUND THE HOME
Salamander Designs Synergy Quad
Salamander Designs Olivia
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 85
Philips Streamium MX600i Home Cinema System
Philips Streamium AAX6000i Home Cinema System
www.stream i um.com
"~ | I
Options & Innovations
The Philips MX6000i Streamium home theater system
provides consumers with a world of home entertainment
options and the latest audio and video innovations. With
the ability to stream audio and video content from the PC
or Internet, the MX6000i provides consumers with the ulti-
mate choice in home cinema entertainment. Additionally,
the system features a five-disc progressive scan DVD
player and more than 450W of premium sound quality.
Connecting Consumers With PC & Online
Content Wherever, Whenever
• Allows for wireless steaming of JPEG (Joint Photographic
Experts Group), MP3, MP3PRO, MPEG, DivX (Digital Video
Express), and XviD from the PC or Internet.
• Access attractive online content from Philips service
partners, including Yahoo!, iFilm, Live365.com, Radio
Free Virgin, Playhouse Radio, MusicMatch, and
86 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Unparalleled Audio Quality
• Six integrated 75W (450 total watts) audio amplifiers drive
the speakers and two subwoofers built into the columns.
• Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic II, and DTS decoding ensures
delivery of highly accurate and well-defined soundscapes.
Crisp, Clear Video Images
• The MX6000i features progressive-scan technology, which en-
sures the viewer will enjoy a crisp, clear viewing environment.
Sophisticated Style & Design
• The modern lines and simple front panel of the MX6000i
are designed to appeal to consumers who appreciate good
looks as well as functionality.
• Allows consumers to wirelessly transfer content to the de-
vice through Wi-Fi technology (802.1 1g).
Philips Connected Planet
• The Streamium MX6000i is part of Philips Connected
Planet Vision, where consumers are able to access and
enjoy content anywhere, anytime, any place, instantly,
intuitively and spontaneously, with the use of broad-
band-enabled wireless connectivity.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 87
Paradigm Thinks Outside The Box
With Its New Compact Theater Line
What do you think of when you hear the phrase "home the-
ater in a box"? Most likely, you think of a so-so receiver and
media player with tinny-sounding satellites thrown in almost
as an afterthought. Do you feel that you need to settle for low-
quality speakers to achieve a low-cost complete home theater
system? Think again.
Paradigm shows how it's done with its new line of 5.1
Compact Theater systems: Cinema 70 CT, Cinema 90 CT, and
Cinema 110 CT. These are Paradigm's most affordable com-
plete and compact speaker systems to date and feature the
company's award-winning Monitor Series technology. With
the Cinema CT line, Paradigm delivers real audiophile-quality
sound at really modest prices.
Paradigm displays its commitment to affordable high-end
products by giving you three different CT systems to choose
from. Studio apartment dwellers and gamers will revel in the
high-end sound the Cinema 70 system provides-four award
winning Cinema 70 satellites and the Cinema CC (center
channel), together with a compact subwoofer, bring multidi-
mensional sound to games and movies.
Then there's the dream system, Cinema 90 CT: two slightly
larger Cinema 90 satellites up front and a Cinema CC are
flanked by Paradigm's award-winning ADP speakers and a
more powerful (but still compact) subwoofer. Cinema ADPs
add reverberant surround sound for a supremely realistic
music and multichannel soundstage.
Finally, there's the brand new Cinema 110 CT, which forms
a matched LCR system by using three larger speakers (identical
in size, driver configuration, and, hence, identical specification)
to optimize timbral accuracy across the front of your home
theater or music listening room. The company's popular ADP
surround speakers are also part of this package.
As far as audiophile quality goes, we know that you've learned
not to expect much from the speakers in a conventional home-
theater-in-a-box system. But the "sub" in subwoofer doesn't have
to mean "sub par." The powerful new compact Cinema CT v.3
subwoofers meet the same standards as all of Paradigm's award-
winning subwoofers, offering tremendous output, superb con-
trol, and clean, articulate bass. The subwoofers also feature
patented built-in, high-power, discrete amplifiers that provide
exceptional high-current, low-distortion power.
Designed with a compact profile, Cinema CTs will fit into
any living space and blend with any decor. They're also very
lightweight for easy maneuverability and installation. The
88 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
result? Shockingly high sound quality with aesthetics to
match, at a price that's truly affordable.
Cinema CT Model Introduction
Cinema 70 CT System
Four Cinema 70 speakers: 3.5-inch bass/midrange driver,
1-inch high-frequency driver
One Cinema CC speaker: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange dri-
vers, 1-inch high-frequency driver
One Cinema 70 CT Subwoofer: 8-inch driver, 100W
Available finishes include silver, white, and black
Cinema 90 CT System
Two Cinema 90 speakers: 4.5-inch bass/midrange driver,
1-inch high-frequency driver
One Cinema CC speaker: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange
drivers, 1-inch high-frequency driver
Two Cinema ADP speakers: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange
drivers, two 1-inch high frequency driver
One Cinema 90 CT Subwoofer: 10-inch driver, 120W
Available finishes include silver, white, and black
Cinema 1 1 CT System
Two Cinema 110 L/R speakers: two 4.5-inch bass/midrange
drivers, 1-inch high-frequency driver
One Cinema 1 10 C speaker: two 4.5-inch bass/midrange
drivers, 1-inch high-frequency driver
Two Cinema ADP speakers: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange
drivers, two 1-inch high-frequency drivers
One Cinema 110 CT Subwoofer: 10-inch driver, 150W
Available finishes include silver, white, and black
THE ULTIMATE IN SOUND FOR MUSIC AND HOME THEATER™
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 89
Optoma MovieTime DV10
Available June; AASRP: $1,495
Bring Home Theater To The Masses
Optoma Technology's new MovieTime DV10 is a digital home
theater projector that features ultra bright, cinema-quality
projection, a built-in DVD player, and high-performance
speakers in a stylish, compact design. Movie enthusiasts can
now enjoy video and sound in their homes instantly without
the complexities and price usually associated with home-
This pure digital DVD projector is preset from the DVD to
the projected image, resulting in optimized DVD viewing with
guaranteed color accuracy and distortion-free pictures.
Other Optoma MovieTime DV10 Features
The new MovieTime digital DVD projector is designed
for a wide range of home entertainment, whether it's
viewing the latest cinema titles or watching home movies
with friends and family. The DV10 includes an integrated
digital DVD player, two 5-Watt speakers, and a short
throw lens. MovieTime features DLP (Digital Light
Processing) technology from Texas Instruments and
provides a direct digital signal from the DVD to the
90 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
projector, producing accurate color and details for a
rich home theater experience. It offers HDTV compatibility
for high-definition entertainment from a variety of
sources and an optimized setting display for true wide-
screen cinema-quality performance. The DV10 also offers
optical audio output, which is ideal for rich and engulfing
Dolby and DTS home theater surround sound. The
sound system can also be connected to an external
audio system to give listeners a full 5.1 -channel surround-
MovieTime is also compatible with other sources such
as gaming consoles, VCRs, and PCs. It projects an eight-
foot image from less than nine feet with superb image and
The DLP™ Display Expert
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 91
H57 Professional Native Widescreen Digital Cinema
Optoma's native widescreen H57 features DarkChip2 tech-
nology from Texas Instruments.
The H57 outperforms big-ticket competitors with superior
picture quality, a black level of 3000:1, and super-quiet opera-
tion on 28dB (decibels).
Fully compatible with every digital and analog source, the
H57 has DVI-HDCP/HDMI (Digital Video Interactive-high-
bandwidth digital content protection/high-definition multi-
media interface), Component (RCA), S-Video, composite
video, and RS232 communication.
• True 576-pixel resolution with UXGA (Ultra Extended
92 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
1100-lumen rating with 3000:1 high-contrast ratio
Revolutionary shield design reduces light leakage and is
whisper quiet at 28dB
Industry-leading video processing and independently ad-
justable color matrix
Convenient DVI-HDCP, VGA, component (RCA), com-
posite, and S-Video, RS232 input
Minimum throw ratio of 1.57:1
Adjustable cooling fan speed settings for higher altitudes
The DLP™ Display Expert
CE Lifestyles / May 2005 93
H79 DarkChip3 DLP Widescreen
Home Theater Projector
The Optoma H79 home theater projector surpasses the
quality of some of the best analog projectors at a fraction of
the price, providing the most vivid, clear, and immersive dig-
ital video experience possible. The H79 DarkChip3 DLP
(Digital Light Processing) technology delivers a wider and
smoother color palette with virtually no dithering in the lower
end of the gray scale, as well as providing an incredibly rich
brightness to win over even the most discerning of home the-
• Advanced DarkChip3 DLP Technology
• HDTV native for viewing widescreen TV signals
94 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Expanded connectivity includes DVI-I (Digital
Visual Interface), BNC, component and S-Video hookups
4500:1 contrast ratio-twice that of a professional theater-
delivers subtle color details
Bright, 1000-lumen rating
Lamp life of 3,000 hours, while operating at a quiet 23
5x, eight-segment DVE (dark video enhancement) color
wheel technology with additional dark segments
The DLP™ Display Expert
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 95
Escient FireBall DVDM-300
Future Trek - Playing
|| H M • GUIDE
New Escient FireBall DVDM-300
The FireBall DVDM-300 merges Escient's music management
system with its DVD movie management system into a single
home media server.
Enjoy Every Movie In Your Collection At
The Touch Of A Button
With the DVDM-300, users can manage, control, and access
more than 1,200 DVDs stored and protected in up to three ex-
ternal Sony or Kenwood CD/DVD changers. To manage such a
vast collection, the DVDM-300 utilizes Escient's patented auto-
matic transport and identification technologies, as well as CD-
recognition technology from Gracenote, to instantly find and
play the desired disc stored in a connected changer. In addition,
the DVDM-300 accesses Escient's world-renowned MovieDB
DVD database to provide users with an integrated movie guide
that automatically displays titles, cast information, ratings, run-
ning time, and cover art for every movie in your collection.
With a 300GB internal hard drive and the ability to manage
up to 1,200 external CDs, the new Escient FireBall DVDM-300
can store and catalog even the largest music collections. It is
now possible to store over 850 hours of true CD-quality music
using the new FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) encoder or
over 5,000 hours of MP3 music (depending on compression
rate). In addition, with built-in file-sharing services, consumers
can easily transfer music files between the DVDM-300 and
their PC or Mac, allowing music library backups and music file
importing. The file-sharing services also allow users to stream
and listen to audio files directly from their FireBall to a com-
puter on the same network.
Like all Escient FireBall music management products, the
DVDM-300 features a built-in CD-RW that lets users rip CDs
directly to the internal hard drive. The CD-RW drive also
96 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
*■ 'O' M ' "<■
T Future Trek
I Stars: Blaze Matfhewsort, Kate Davenport
r Year: 1998
L Genre: Sci-Fi
E Time: 132 min
S Location: Changer 1
allows users to burn customized mix CDs based on user-
created playlists. Thanks to the new optimized FLAC encoder,
the DVDM-300 provides true CD-quality recording (elimi-
nating the loss of information inherent to conventional MP3
compression), while using much less disk space when com-
pared to the original CD. In addition, the improved DVDM-
300 user interface improves the entire recording process,
allowing automated recording from the internal drive and
connected external CD changers.
Easy Setup & Integration
The FireBall DVDM-300*s built-in 10/100 Ethernet con-
nector allows easy connection to a variety of in-home, wired,
or wireless networks. Once connected, users can stream files
across the home network, as well as back up files from the
FireBall. Furthermore, with the integrated Web server, a
DVDM-300 can be controlled from any PC or Mac on the
network using the Escient EWP-2000 wireless touch panel or
an HTML-compatible browser (Internet Explorer or Safari)
from a PC or Mac.
Easily installed in as little as 15 minutes, the FireBall DVDM-
300 ships with Quick Set-Up instructions that show several
connection options. Free third-party external control modules
for advanced custom installations are available on the Escient
we make technology behave.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 97
New Konica Minolta 8MP Digital SLR
(Single Lens Reflex) Camera: The DiMAGE A200
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200
The new high-performance 8MP DiMAGE A200 provides su-
perb image quality and features Konica Minolta's Anti-Shake
technology, unique new Vari-Angle LCD monitor, and built-in
7X optical zoom lens.
Vari-Angle LCD Monitor: The 1.8-inch TFT LCD monitor
rotates 270 degrees vertically and 180 degrees horizontally,
allowing photographers to hold the camera in a comfortable
position at high- and low-angle shots while still viewing the
LCD straight on. And, because photographers can view the
LCD while they get in just the right position for a self-por-
trait, the DiMAGE A200 is great for taking shots from a va-
riety of different angles.
Included Wireless Remote Control: Photographers can take
self-portraits using the camera's remote control. They can also
connect the DiMAGE A200 to a TV and control the images
with the remote control. This allows users to sit back and
enjoy the pictures and movies they took that same day.
Digital Zoom: The 4X digital zoom gives up to a 28X total
zoom when combined with the optical zoom, providing a
maximum focal length of 800mm, which is perfect for distance
shots or sporting events. And, even shots at a focal length of
800mm are free of jerky movements thanks to Konica
Minolta's Anti-Shake technology. Photographers can choose
from two digital zoom modes: image interpolation digital
zoom (in which the number of pixels doesn't change) and
normal mode (cropped into 2MP). The digital zoom can also
be accessed from any point of the optical zoom using the
handy digital zoom lever on the rear panel.
High-Quality Movie Recording: The DiMAGE A200 incorpo-
rates a true VGA (Video Graphics Array) movie (640 x 480
pixels) mode. This allows users to record high-quality movies
at 30 fps, rivaling images seen on TV. Users can also take high-
quality SVGA (Super VGA; 800 x 600 pixels) movies at 15 fps,
98 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
which look good even on a large PC monitor. The DiMAGE
A200 lets photographers use both the digital and optical
zoom when recording movies, allowing them to capture im-
ages at a maximum focal length of 800mm (35mm equiva-
lent). And, the Night Movie function makes subjects highly
visible even in dark settings. The DiMAGE A200 also comes
bundled with fun-to-use video software, Video Studio 8 SE by
ULEAD, which lets users import and edit images and then
output them to video CDs.
Sure-Grip, Ergonomic: Despite its professional-level
picture quality and features, the Konica Minolta DiMAGE
A200 is compact and weighs just 17.8 ounces, making it
easy to take on vacations and day trips. And although it's
small, the DiMAGE A200's grip makes it easy to hold when
Various AF (Auto Focus) Mode: Wide Focus Area mode in-
forms photographers of focused points by flashing them when
the shutter is pressed halfway down. Predictive Focus Control
keeps moving subjects in focus. 1 1 -Point Focus Area is perfect
for switching the AF point instantaneously on the main posi-
tions in the frame. Flex Focus Point is perfect for higher-preci-
sion auto focusing. These features are very effective for
capturing action in unusual lighting.
Ultra High-Speed Continuous Shooting: When photogra-
phers really need to fire off as many shots as possible in a lim-
ited amount of time, select the UHS (Ultra High Speed) mode
on the menu to set the camera to capture images at a contin-
uous advance of 40 frames at 10 fps. For convenience, these
images can be captured in VGA format.
CELifestyles / May 2005 99
iriver H10 Player Sets New Standards For Features,
Ease Of Use & Music Service Compatibility
The H10 player is the newest member of the iriver music
player family, with a more intuitive user experience, color
display, swappable battery, and touch strip control. The stylish
new 5GB players come in four colors (Lounge Gray, Remix
Blue, Trance Red, and Triple Platinum) and offer vivid, color
screens for viewing photos.
The H10 is designed to be PlaysForSure-verified out of the
box, and it works seamlessly with Windows Media Player 10,
including support for Auto Sync to sync your music, photos,
and playlists. With the H10, you can choose from a growing
number of PlaysForSure download and subscription stores,
such as FYE (For Your Entertainment), MSN Music,
Musicmatch, MusicNow, Napster, and Wal-Mart Music
The H10 also supports innovative, online, portable sub-
scription services, such as Napster's Napster To Go, to provide
customers an array of music, news, business, and entertain-
ment audio content.
The iriver H10 plays up to 150 hours of digital music and
includes a rechargeable and replaceable battery, integrated
voice recorder, and a digital FM tuner with FM recording ca-
pabilities. The players come bundled with iriver earphones, a
100 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
quality carrying case, installation software CD, AC adapter,
• Supports portable subscription service Napster To Go
USB 2.0 cable, an interface cable, and a printed users manual.
• Rechargeable, removable battery lasts up to 12 hours
iriver H10 5GB Features:
• Built-in FM tuner and FM recorder
• Integrated voice recorder
• Plays up to 1 50 hours of digital music
• Ultra-fast USB 2.0 transfers
• 5GB of internal storage
• Supports MP3, WMA, JPEG, and TXT files
• Vivid, color display
• Enhanced 3D audio
• Ultra-intuitive interface with convenient touch strip
• Dimensions: 3.8 inches high x 2.2 inches wide x 0.6
• Displays digital photos
inches deep ■ ■
• Slim, lightweight design
• Weight: 3.4 ounces 1 f 1 \ //"\ f
1 | IVUl
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 101
Salamander Designs Synergy Quad
Available May 1; MSRP: starts at $899
Synergy Quad From Salamander Designs
Wide-Screen Panel TV Platform
Salamander Designs has added a new unit, the Quad, to its
Synergy modular furniture series.
The Quad is a full 87 inches wide, more than four times the
width of the Synergy Single module. Its substantial span, and
the fact that it accepts the company's Flat Panel Mount,
makes it ideal for supporting flat-panel TV displays with
screens up to 61 inches wide and DLP (digital light processing)
TVs as wide as 80 inches.
The four-cabinet sections beneath the Quad's sturdy top
shelf contain ample room for related electronic entertainment
components. Moveable shelf pegs, which fit into support-post
grooves, slide vertically and then lock at any height, making in-
terior shelves infinitely adjustable. Rear cabinet panels leave
openings for cables and provide component ventilation.
Like sibling modules in the Salamander Designs Synergy fur-
niture series, buyers can customize Quads at the time of pur-
chase. Three genuine hardwood finishes (cherry, maple, and
walnut) are available in addition to black, and the anodized
aluminum support posts, which add substantial strength to
the units, come in matte silver or anodized black.
While most users purchase doors and side panels for their
Synergy units, others leave the shelves and support posts ex-
posed. Open or enclosed, Quads are easily fitted with various
Synergy accessories. The many options include wheels or
custom feet, drawers, double-width interior shelves, glass
shelves, lighting, and integrated door locks, to name just a few.
The Synergy Quad is available in three different heights (12
inches, 21 inches, and 31 inches), and Salamander Designs of-
fers options for extending them upward. This allows pur-
chasers to create elegant wall units.
102 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Salamander Designs Olivia
MSRP: Starts at $2,000
Salamander Designs Broadens Its Line Of Theater
Chairs With The Olivia
Salamander Designs has added a new model, the Olivia, to its
theater seating line.
The Olivia is generously proportioned and provides an ex-
tremely comfortable, oversized seating surface that measures
26 inches wide x 24 inches deep. Quilted leather surfaces cover
both the base and sides while the seat cushion, back, and arm-
rests are covered in a plush, suede-like microfiber.
Customers are invited to customize their Olivias. They
have a choice of 14 leather finishes: Eclipse Black, Mora,
Ruby, Ocean, Hunter Green, Green Tea, Streetlight, Sunrise,
Yellow, Sea, Chocolate, Mineral, Harvest, and Tudor. Nine
different colors are available for the chair's suede-like sur-
faces, including Stone, Espresso, Moss, Putty, Sage, Aqua,
Cherry, Brandy, and Bone.
The Olivia is available in all leather or leather and micro-
suede combinations starting at a manufacturer's suggested re-
tail price of $2,000.
To allow customers maximum flexibility, Salamander
Designs is offering various versions of the Olivia, which is avail-
able as a standard recline chair and also as a powered recliner.
A matching ottoman is available, as well. It has a built-in
storage compartment and it rolls easily on hidden wheels.
Placing the ottoman against the front edge of a fixed-back
Olivia, in effect, converts the chair to a chaise lounge.
In keeping with its modular furniture philosophy, the com-
pany also provides left-arm-only, right-arm-only, armless, and
corner-module Olivias. These, in conjunction with special con-
nector pieces, combine in various ways to let users create
straight theater rows of chairs, an Olivia loveseat or an Olivia
sofa, and even an L-shaped Olivia arrangement similar to that
of conventional sectional sofas.
For those who prefer it to a corner seat in an L-shaped
arrangement, Salamander Designs offers a matching Olivia
corner console table.
For additional convenience, the Olivia has storage compart-
ments in each arm, and a cup holder is built into each arm, as
well. Every Olivia also includes a removable lumbar pillow cov-
ered in suede-like microfiber.
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 103
(LLort a C^OUrse for extreme brightness and high
resolution with JVC's HD-ILA TV, powered by 3-Chip D-ILA.
Featuring amazing picture quality and incredible sound, JVC's
D-ILA (Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) TV is designed to
change the way you experience television. If you've been on
a treasure hunt seeking both style and state-of-the-art in one
cool, thin package, look no further - your search is over. But
beware: with JVC's HD-ILA TV you just might actually feel as
though there are pirates in your living room.
The Perfect Experience
by Liz Dixon
'The Beekeeper". $18.98
Progression is necessary to stay fresh
and successful in the music biz. Tori
Amos burst onto the scene in 1991
with "Little Earthquakes" but arguably
got stuck in an artistic rut with a
couple of her intermediate, somewhat
disparaging albums. She seems to have
come full circle with "The Beekeeper,"
her newest addition. It is innovative
and intensely thoughtful, and while
some critics of her previous albums
may have implied that she had
reached a creative plateau, "The
Beekeeper" demonstrates a newfound
level of maturity and creativity we
hadn't seen in her prior work.
Amos has really hit her musical mark
with this one. "Ribbons Undone" says
it best: "It is her time/Watch her run."
She seems to have come to terms
with her quirkiness and has embraced
this evolution of her lyrics and mu-
" Life seems to go on
I am filled with music.
"Soviet Kitsch". $15.98
If you dig the tone of Tori Amos, you
might also appreciate up-and-coming
solo gig Regina Spektor. This girl shows
her graceful talent on the piano, but with
a brash, Ani DiFranco-esque style. The
mixture of her elegant piano playing with
her somewhat harsh, bitter lyrics reveals
the heartfelt sentiment in this album.
Even those who may not have previously
enjoyed Moby's electron ica sound may
want to check out this album. Guest vocalist
Laura Dawn gives this go-around a more
mellow sound than Moby's other albums.
For those who prefer his old, eclectic style,
don't worry: The album is still funky enough
to keep you involved.
"In Between Dreams" • $13.98
Maybe Jack Johnson's ability to take listeners
to another time and place has to do with his
surfing background, as his newest feel-good
album offers a retreat into his bubbly world.
Well, the ocean isn't the only thing he's in
tune with. Still, after listening, we're left won-
dering: How do you tell the difference be-
tween this guy and John Mayer anyway?
Singer/guitarist Colin Meloy truly shines on
this, the Decern berists' third fanciful, full-
length album. The band teams up with pro-
ducer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie),
offering a cornucopia of noteworthy, indie
eccentricity. The lyrics instigate literary-type
brewing, with the music flawlessly backing
up their storytelling mastery.
106 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
m o v i
by Samit G. Choudhuri
"Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason"
Fans of author Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones's Diary" or viewers of
the thoroughly enjoyable 2001 film of the same name will need
little introduction to Bridget Jones. Bridget is that cute, lovable,
bumbling friend who always got herself into trouble, and no matter
how irritating she was, she left you with that "awwww" feeling.
Renee Zellweger, back in the title role, is rumored to have upsized
from a dress size of 6 to 14 for her role (now that's dedication!),
and leading men Colin Firth and Hugh Grant reprise their original
roles. The sequel is mostly a series of comedic events that loses the
original's cohesive quest for true love and tongue-in-cheek urgency.
It's a good laugh, but much more forgettable.
Director Marc Forster of "Monster's Ball" brings playwright J. M.
Barrie's (the man who introduced the world to Peter Pan) life to the
big screen with an innocent and rather touching sweep of his direc-
torial hand. Johnny Depp turns in yet another superb performance
as the gentle Barrie, and Kate Winslet steps up as Sylvia Llewelyn
Davies, the widow whose orphans would later inspire Barrie for the
work he would forever be remembered by. "Finding Neverland" is a
gentle gem of a film that was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
It's not often we get to offer up a director from our local area
(Omaha, Neb.), but Alexander Payne is more than up to the task in
the middle-aged-men-coming-of-age film. Paul Giamatti (Miles, a
middle-school teacher feeling very much down on his luck) and
Thomas Haden Church (Jack, a washed-up actor on the verge of
marriage) road trip to California wine country in that rare buddy
flick that both sexes can enjoy equally. The pair run into Virginia
Madsen's Maya— a woman who sees through Miles' insecuri-
ties and communicates with him in a most sweet and tender
way. This intelligent, bittersweet drama is a mix of tragedy and
comedy that's liberally sprinkled with hope.
(2-Disc Collector's Edition)
Pixar (the genius behind "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story,"
among others) brings in another hit by calling on the
writing and directorial skills of Brad Bird (the talent be-
hind the superb yet quite underrated "The Iron Giant").
What would happen if you took two hot, young super-
heroes, married them, and threw them into the future as
middle-aged parents who have put their heroic days be-
hind them to raise a family? You end up with a story that
strikes a chord with the whole family and is something
you can laugh at and enjoy together. After 1 5 years, dad
has a much wider waistline, mum's gotten bigger in the
hips, and they have two children with some obvious su-
perhero genetics at a time when superhero shenanigans
are illegal. And wouldn't you know it— the world is in
danger yet again. It's a good thing superhero costumes
stretch to fit. This is A-List family entertainment.
(Platinum 2-Disc Special Edition)
Disney's classic car-
toon tearjerker has
been digitally re-
restored. This is
the best "Bambi"
has looked and
sounded since its
theatrical debut in
1942. In addition to
the new 5.1 Disney
Enhanced Home Theater Mix, the
disc includes the original mono mix
for purists. If your child has not been
exposed to death, you may wish to
watch this film with her the first time.
Who among us can say they didn't
cry when Bambi's mother was killed
by the hunters? Some of us still shed
a flow of tears. Ultimately, "Bambi" is
a sweet children's classic that shows
one baby deer's growth into adult-
hood with ample comic relief from a
wacky rabbit (Thumper) and darling
skunk (Flower). Kids will also enjoy
some of the extra bonus content tar-
geted specifically at them. Last but
not least, Disney has a habit of pulling
movies from the market after a cer-
tain period of time, so don't wait if
you're interested. Pick the film up
along with a box of tissues.
"The River" (The Criterion
Collection): This is a 1951 art
film of substance by Jean Renoir
that's about three English girls
who live along a river bank in
Bengal during postwar India.
The timeless metaphors pre-
sented through Renoir's deli-
ciously exotic camerawork will
transport you to a bygone era.
"Ladder 49": This is not your
typical action fare and feels al-
most like an homage to the
good work done by your local
working-class heroes. These
folks risk their lives every day to
keep us safe (and Joaquin
Phoenix and John Travolta pull
off their respective roles as the
newbie and veteran firefighters
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 107
games . . .
fr^r \/n>\ i nnH tho nonnb in \/r
for you and the people in your life
BY VlNCE COGLEY
Hot Shots Golf
Golf doesn't have to revolve around constant
scowling and wrapping your 7-iron around
the nearest tree, and Sony's Hot Shots Golf is
convincing proof. New character customiza-
tion abilities let you create your own duffer
from scratch with over 50 customizable body
parts, accessories, golf clubs, and balls. Al-
though the game's characters have a comical
feel, the real-world golf physics ensure the
gameplay is as serious as Tiger Woods on the
»M ; i »:i i ;t>ijira
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending
Gran Turismo 4 Mobile
When your two-hour commute through
rush hour traffic leaves you frazzled, Sony's
Gran Turismo 4 Mobile can be the perfect
stress reliever. Director Kazunori Yamauchi
has said the PlayStation Portable version of
the popular racing game's fourth installment
should transition seamlessly from the
PlayStation 2 version. With more than 700
vehicles ranging from a 1965 Fiat 500F to a
2005 Ford GT, you'll have plenty of opportu-
nities to exercise your lead foot.
ESRB Rating: Rating Pending
Yoshi Touoh & Go
Nintendo's favorite green dinosaur and
Italian plumber (albeit an infant version of
the mustachioed hero) return for an adven-
ture on the Nintendo DS. Yoshi Touch & Go
takes full advantage of the DS's stylus in two
intuitive ways. In vertical-action levels, use
the stylus to shield Baby Mario from enemies
and guide him to Yoshi. On horizontal-
scrolling levels, the stylus helps Yoshi avoid
obstacles as he tromps over various terrains.
ESRB Rating: (E)veryone
LEGO: Star Wars
A synthesis of one of the most popular toy franchises with one of the most pop-
ular movie franchises, Eidos Interactive's LEGO: Star Wars lets you relive adven-
tures from "The Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones," and the upcoming
"Revenge of the Sith." LEGO: Star Wars might be a kinder, gentler way to intro-
duce young fans to the Star Wars series, instead of Star Wars games geared toward
more mature gamers.
ESRB Rating: (E)veryone
108 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Ceiva 2 Digital Photo
For some family members we know,
half the reason to own a computer is
to get the latest photos of the
grandkids. This handy digital photo
frame solves that issue, to some ex-
tent. The Ceiva 2 Digital Photo
Receiver ($149.95 plus $6.95/month
subscription fee; www.ceiva.com)
uses a phone line to automatically
download up to 30 new photos
from a server each night, securely
and without long-distance charges
or interruptions to the phone ser-
vice. You may invite family members
to send pics to the server via PC, or
you can beam them directly into the
Ceiva from a camera phone using
the new CEIVAMobile feature.
Unfortunately, there's currently no
way for users to save or print photos
from the Ceiva, which seems like a
major omission. Anyway, the unit's
LCD is 5 x 7 inches, but a much
larger 15-inch Ceiva with wireless ca-
pabilities should appear this year.
• Samsonite Park
• Avenue Nylon
If you'd rather leave your significant
other behind than your notebook
computer, make sure you treat that
laptop right in transit. Samson ite's
Park Avenue (us.samsonite.com) is a
combination notebook case and
travel bag the size of a large purse.
It's available in soft nylon ($120) or
leather ($250) in black, silver, and
red. There's room for a 17-inch note-
book inside, but a movable partition
lets you resize the padded chamber
to smaller models. A waterproof flap
provides reasonable rain protection,
while pockets and pouches offer
loads of storage for documents, ca-
bles, and a cell phone. Speaking of
phones, that's probably your
boyfriend calling now to whine,
TikiMac Big Tiki Drive
Put on your PVC grass skirt, pick up
your discount store ukelele, and
start speaking pidgin Polynesian! It's
time to add another bit of faux
South Pacific culture to your life
with the Big Tiki Drive (kahuna
.tikimac.com). At nearly 4 inches tall,
this USB 2.0 flash drive cuts an im-
posing figure, at least compared to
lesser USB drives. The Big Tiki comes
with a glowing cable that simulates
fiery lava behind its wrathful eyes.
The gods have made him compat-
ible with Mac OS 9.1 and later, OS X
10.1.2 and up, and Windows
2000/Me/XP. For as little as $59
(256MB), plus the cost of a pet
tarantula, you can scare off that
pesky Brady Bunch any time they
. & aifts
on the lighter side of technology
by Marty Sems
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 109
Evolution Of Portable
^^ The first device to let people
take their own music with them
wherever they went was the
TPS-L2. It cost
$200, weighed 14
ounces, and was
not much larger
than the audio
cassette it played.
it, and competitors
followed Sony's example.
k ^**«* liilT
Sony introduced the
MiniDisc, and its first
portable MiniDisc player was
the model MZ-1. The MD was
a new digital audio disc that
competed with the audio cas-
sette. It was a magneto-optical
disc with a 2.5-inch diameter.
Competitive portable DCC
^^^ As CD popularity continued to
grow, Sony introduced its first
portable CD player— the model D-50. It
was the size of a CD case, cost $299, and
helped boost CD sales. The D-50 evolved
into the Discman.
created the market for
digital audio players
with the introduction of
the Rio PMP300. For
under $200, it
was one of
to use MP3
^^ Despite the popularity of the CD, the
evolution of the audio cassette continued
with DAT (Digital Audio Tape) technology and,
in 1992, the competitive Digital Compact
Cassette. Audiophiles said DAT sounded as
good as CD. Sony introduced its first DAT
Walkman, the TCD-D3, in 1990 for $850.
110 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
Creative Labs was the first well-known
maker of portable digital audio players to in-
tegrate a hard drive in the
device. The Nomad
Jukebox had a
6GB hard drive
than 100 hours
of music. It cost
mole iPod Shuffle
^^^ This year, Apple introduced the
iPod Shuffle. At $99 for a 512MB ver-
sion or $149 for a 1GB version, it is the
lowest capacity and least-expensive product
in the iPod line. The iPod Shuffle weighs as
little as a car key, and you can connect it to
your computer using a USB port.
The iconic iPod debuted at $399
with a 5GB hard drive and a super-fast
which let you
songs to the iPod
from a PC in less
than 10 minutes.
Later models fea-
tured hard drive
Last year, Lexar introduced the first
portable digital audio player to play con-
tent from a removable USB flash drive. The
and comes in
tions: as a
$49.99 or with a 64MB
JumpDrive Sport for $89.99.
Audio On The Go
What's coming next in the
evolution of portable audio
players? In the second half
of this year, we expect to
see integration with wireless
such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi,
so you can use wireless
headsets or connect wire-
lessly to a computer. S§
by Robert E. Calem
CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 111
Even though spring is two months old, May signals
the beginning of genuinely good weather. And
how better to celebrate this yearly awakening than
with an outdoor fete with friends and family? Stay
connected while keeping your belly full and your
party going until the wee hours of the morning.
ie outdoor equiva
of iRobot's Roomba lets
you mow from your -*
www. smart home.
This functional and environ-
mentally friendly umbrella
keeps the light off you during
the day and on you at night.
Keep your guests' toes
pping outside all day
id all night with these
From pizza to poult. 7
this griller's must-hav
will make you a barl
miing Betty Crocker.
iy is the be
ar to see the star
Antares. Capture its
burgundy beauty with
these camera binocu-
two-piece system keeps
you mingling with your
guests while your food
is grilled to perfection.
112 May 2005 / celifestyles.com
.brooks tone, com
Turn even a small patio
into a barbecuing haven
with this small but
At first look you are awestruck by the beauty of Sanus Component Furniture. And when you investigate deeper you see the strength
of aluminum pillars blended with the character of solid hardwoods and unique features like tempered glass shelves and a wire man-
agement system. Component Furniture includes cabinets, armoires and digital TV stands that configure to your exact needs. Add the
Sanus Convection Cooling System that allows air to flow around heat-generating A/V gear like a cooling canyon breeze
and you have Component Furniture that echoes of quality and performance.
THE UNION OF FORM AND FUNCTION
Experience television in a whole new light.
Philips flat TV with Ambilight. Turn on any flat TV from Philips with
Ambient Light Technology, and watch what happens. Your eyes see more
than what's on the screen, as color and light expand beyond the frame and
onto the walls. You bask in the warm glow of the background lighting that
automatically changes color and intensity to reduce eye strain and provide a
more relaxed viewing environment And with Pixel Plus™ 2, you experience
the detail and vivid colors that are as close to real life as you can get. For a
deeper view of the entire Philips Flat TV™ line, featuring Ambient Light Technology,
check out www.flattv.philips.com. Its unlike anything you've ever seen before.
TQnbl light f\j
^^ PIXEL PLUS I
sense and simplicity